Pittsford considers 2nd Amendment 'sanctuary' status

Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 12:15 AM EST
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It was one sentence in one paragraph that caused concern, raising the question of who has the ultimate authority to legislate gun ownership.

The town of Pittsford is split on becoming a Second Amendment "sanctuary."

Those in favor argue this resolution is needed, saying the right to keep and bear arms is in jeopardy.

Several Vermont towns have approved a nonbinding resolution designating the municipalities as Second Amendment "sanctuary" towns. It comes as lawmakers consider tougher gun restrictions including prohibiting the possession of semiautomatic assault weapons in certain places and requiring a 72-hour waiting period for firearm purchases.

”Absolutely," said Clarence Greeno, who supports the Pittsford measure. "When you’ve got people running for president saying that they’ll spend $1 billion to shut it down, it’s under attack.”

Other people are worried about unintended consequences.

“It will be misunderstood," said Steve Belcher, who doesn't support the Second Amendment sanctuary. "In Virginia, there already running around saying, 'Oh, this means we don’t have to obey any laws in a sanctuary city,' and that’s a recipe for trouble.”

Select board members said they unanimously support the Second Amendment, but they had one hesitation about the proposal. Pittsford Town Manager John Haverstock says one paragraph suggests “any infringement on the Second Amendment by the federal or state governments would be declared null and void.”

"We’ve had input from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and the attorney general's office which states that would not be effective because the select board does not have the authority to render a state or federal law as null and void," Haverstock said.

Ultimately, four out of five select board members signed it, saying it's a symbol of protecting the Second Amendment.

There's still a chance for neighbors to speak out at another public meeting that will be held at Lothrop Elementary School on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Haverstock says there could also be a final vote that night.