MOREHEAD A resolution passed unanimously Tuesday morning to declare Rowan County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”

Judge-Executive Harry Clark said the fiscal courtroom was “standing room only” before the symbolic legislation took its turn on the agenda.

Organizer Jim Coss addressed the court on the matter. He’s concerned language in House Bills 45, 28, 130, 192 and 259 will lead future lawmaking decisions on a slippery slope to infringement of a person’s right to bear arms, as permitted by the second amendment of the United States Constitution.

“This is not a Democratic or Republican thing,” he said. “It’s a citizen thing.”

Coss believes the possible limitation of the right to bear firearms creates a vulnerability in a person’s ability to defend themselves or their family.

“God bless our law enforcement, but they can only be there after the fact,” he said.

He argues not being armed when a threat arises creates more risk by waiting for law enforcement and prolonging a person or family’s exposure to a possible home intruder or violent criminal.

Rowan County is one of the last in Eastern Kentucky to adopt a resolution to let lawmakers at the state and federal level know what citizens are actually feeling about possible gun control.

“The resolution is a will of the people in the community,” said County Attorney Cecil Watkins. “It lets people in Frankfort and D.C. know where Rowan County stands. However, it does not carry the force of law at all.”

The resolution has no legal weight and the county must continue to follow all state and federal laws and regulations.

This movement started in Virginia when its lawmakers started looking into stricter gun control laws. It has since spread widely into Kentucky and West Virginia, among others.

In other business, Clark will seek legal advice from Pike Legal on the legality of regulating industry seeking to do business in Rowan County. He wants ensure the county has a say on what types of businesses would be allow to operate.

“We definitely need to get a handle on what’s coming into this county,” Clark said. “Otherwise we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot.”

State law requires a line of succession for the Judge-Executive’s position should he ever become incapacitated or otherwise unable to fulfill his duties.

He sought approval to have the most senior serving magistrate available take over this position should the need arise.

Ray While is currently the most senior serving magistrate, however the chain would continue to the next most senior magistrate if White was unable to fulfill the role.

The motion passed with a 4-0 vote, with White abstaining. 

Keith Kappes, Charles Moore, Paul Banks, Dwight Clark and Anthony Anderson will serve on a newly established ethics commission.

The commission will oversee mostly elected officials at the county level and some employees who work for the county.

However, employees do have a separate set of guidelines which are set in the administrative code.

The court will meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 8 a.m. in the fiscal courtroom of the Rowan County Courthouse.

This article was updated at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 to clarify Clark's intentions on seeking legal advice on regulating businesses in Rowan County. It also clarified that Clark does not have a deputy appointed for his position and the KRS requires a line of succession to be established in the absence of a deputy.

Reach Cory at or by phone at (606) 784-4116.

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