On April 22, 2021, Washington County, Ohio Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the Second Amendment. The resolution passed with a unanimous vote of 3 to 0. Commissioner Ritter, who was originally opposed to the resolution, read a very interesting statement in support of it.

Verification Citation/Source: Washington County, OH – County Commissioners
Resolution date passed: 22 Apr 2021
Vote Count: 3 ayes, 0 nays.

Statement from Commissioner Ritter:

First of all, I’d like to thank our guests who are here. I appreciate your work and commitment on this issue.

Last year the Board of Commissioners was approached by concerned citizens asking for a resolution reaffirming the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. While I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, and a concealed carry permit holder, I opposed passing a resolution at that time.

My reasoning was this: As Americans we already enjoy a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. That is reaffirmed by the Ohio Constitution. As such, I saw a local resolution as redundant. Furthermore, because our office lacks the power to legislate, any resolution the Board of Commissioners would have passed would have been entirely symbolic. Finally, at the time we were originally asked, there was little serious discussion about limiting the Second Amendment.

Well, let’s be honest, things have changed dramatically in a year. The present occupant of the White House said repeatedly during his campaign that, if elected, he would sidestep the legislative process and use executive action on gun control. He has made good on that promise. Only two weeks ago, in a Rose Garden speech, the President indicated just what sort of defender of the Constitution he intends to be when he stated, “No Amendment to the Constitution is absolute!”

I’m left to wonder if he includes in that description the 13th outlawing slavery, or the 19th granting women the vote, along with the 2nd Amendment.

Since the founding of our nation, the right to bear arms has been one of the fundamental liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. After all, Thomas Jefferson said, “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance?”

In my view, there exists today, at both the state and federal level, a significant threat to the Second Amendment. It is because of that threat, and with a full understanding that our actions today are purely symbolic, that I favor this resolution. It is time to send the state and federal capitals a message, the citizens of Washington County do not intend to surrender our right to bear arms responsibly.

Click here to see the full agenda on the Washington County government website.


WHEREAS, The Ohio Constitution: Article 1, Section 4 states that “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security”; and

WHEREAS, The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”; and

WHEREAS, The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified in 1791, and is still the Law of the Land; and 

WHEREAS, Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States of America states “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding” and 

WHEREAS, Article 15, Section 7 of the Ohio Constitution states: “Every person chosen or appointed to any office under this state, before entering upon the discharge of its duties, shall take an oath of office or affirmation, to support the Constitution of the United States;

WHEREAS, County Commissioner Kevin Ritter, County Commissioner James Booth, and County Commissioner Charles Schilling have all taken such oath and are obligated to support the Constitution of the United States, including the Second Amendment; and

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County, Ohio does not have unlimited authority, but only the authority granted to it by the Ohio legislature; 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County, Ohio in its effort to protect the Washington County Citizens’ Second Amendment Rights, hereby affirms its support for the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and expresses its deep commitment to protecting the Washington County Citizens’ Second Amendment Rights to the extent permitted by its statutory authority, and declares this to be a Second Amendment Preservation Resolution; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED, that through its passage of this Second Amendment Preservation Resolution the Board of Commissioners of Washington County, Ohio declares Washington County, Ohio to be a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County, where the constitutionally protected individual rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, and of their use in the security and defense of self, family, others, and property, are supported; and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” the Board of County Commissioners hereby declares its opposition to unconstitutional restrictions on the right to bear arms; opposes any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict all such rights secured by the Bill of Rights; pledges to vocalize its support of the Second Amendment to the state and national legislatures to cease and desist any actions restricting the Second Amendment rights of Ohioans when necessary; and otherwise generally advocate for the preservation of the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Washington County, Ohio to the extent permitted by its statutory role under Ohio law; and 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of County Commissioners for Washington County, Ohio hereby finds and determines that all formal actions relative to the passage of this Resolution were taken in an open meeting of this Board, and that all deliberations of this Board, if any, which resulted in formal action, were taken in meetings open to the public, in full compliance with applicable legal requirements including Section 121.22 of the Ohio Revised Code.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon its execution.

Kevin J. Ritter, President

Charlie L. Schilling, Vice President

James W. Booth

ADOPTED:  4/22/21

Washington County Ohio Page 1
Washington County Ohio Page 2

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