After passionate public debate, Dare Board approves Second Amendment resolution

By on February 4, 2020

Dan Lewis, left, asked that the resolution be tabled for now. Don DeRasmo, right, opposes gun rights regulations.

After hearing impassioned arguments on both sides from two dozen speakers during public comment period, the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution expressing its support for the U.S. Constitution and specifically, the Second Amendment, at its Feb 4. meeting. The vote was 6-0 with Commissioner Jim Tobin not in attendance.

The resolution, authored by Board Vice-Chair Wally Overman, expressed support for the U.S. Constitution in general while also vowing to “oppose any and all attempts to infringe upon these rights and freedoms, including the right to keep and bear arms, as defined in the Second Amendment.”

The resolution stopped short of declaring Dare County a Second Amendment Sanctuary — as a number of communities have recently done, particularly in response to a series of gun control laws being promoted in the Virginia legislature.

The issue reached the board at its Jan. 21 meeting when Rob Rollason, during public comment, introduced a resolution backing the Second Amendment that he asked the board to address. Rollason is running in the Republican primary against incumbent NC District 6 Representative Bobby Hanig. And he and Hanig were among the first three speakers during public comment on Feb. 4.

Of the 24 speakers who took to the podium in the commissioners’ meeting room to discuss the resolution, the sentiment was split between 14 speakers who opposed it and 10 who supported it.  On some occasions, applause greeted their remarks.

Hanig, speaking first, declared that the Second Amendment “is not for hunting…not for recreation. This is about our God-given right to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government.

During his remarks, Rollason thanked the Dare Commissioners for “taking a stand [for] freedom.”

Several of the speakers opposing the resolution asked why it was necessary and warned that the issue was politically divisive.

“What exactly does this resolution mean?” asked Susan Merrill. “Is it just an attempt to stir the pot on gun control?” A similar point was argued by Tom Murphy who said, “Why do this…Is it the election year. Is it an appeal to a base?”

David Morris added that “it’s been an extraordinary gift to live in a county where people work across party lines…I fear that this resolution…seemingly innocuous in [the] wording, is not bi-partisan.”

At time, passions were inflamed. Speaking against the resolution, Nellie Healy grew emotional when she talked about the toll from gun violence. “Where are we as a people?” she asked, angrily declaring that, “You’re not bringing this crap here, Mr. Overman.”

Also opposing the resolution, Judy Lotas bemoaned the fact that her grandson has to “go through all these duck and dive drills” at school as part of safety exercises in case of a mass shooter. “That’s all we’re after,” she said, “common sense laws that protect people.”

Like some others who expressed support for the resolution, Randy Knight cited the number of crimes stopped by people carrying guns. Responding to concerns about guns being used in domestic violence, he added: “Women who are being abused, I wholeheartedly support them having a firearm and protecting themselves.”

Other warned of a slippery slope toward eliminating all gun rights. “Registration is the first step to confiscation” declared Don DeRasmo.

For his part, Outer Banks Restaurant Association President Dan Lewis, after stating his belief that “this is not the venue for this discussion,” asked Overman to take the resolution off the table for now.

When it came time for the commissioners to vote, each of them discussed the decision to support the measure, but in different tones and for some different reasons.

Ervin Bateman described losing friends to gun violence, saying, “I hate guns, I despise guns…in the hands of people who should not have them.” While he said he would not support a resolution that made Dare County a Second Amendment Sanctuary community, he added that “this has to be the most non-partisan board I’ve served on.”

Commissioner Danny Couch, acknowledging the passions on the issue, said “It is divisive. It is controversial. It is an election season folks…everything is over the top.” Still he stated that the resolution itself “has been watered down. It’s been made as bland as it could be.”

In his remarks, Overman said that it was “obvious…the Second Amendment is under attack…This resolution is not a knee-jerk reaction. It proactively tells the governor and [General] Assembly that North Carolina is not Virginia.”

But in his comments before voting for the resolution, Board Chair Bob Woodard downplayed events in Virginia as a catalyst for the resolution, noting that the process was put in motion by Rollason’s request at the previous meeting.

“It’s emphatic that our board respond to any and all issues brought before our board,” he said. “This is not a partisan issue.”  A military veteran, Woodard added that, “I hate guns. I don’t want any part of a gun. But this is not about me. It’s about the Second Amendment.”





  • Dave H

    I think in reality, Mr. Bateman probably despises guns generally. Unfortunately, to many if not most Democrats “the hands of people who should not have them” are the hands of EVERY citizen. The gun laws we have in place are more than adequate if actually enforced and accompanied with certain and severe punishment for breaking them. When Dems start punishing criminals as opposed to excusing their actions and letting them off easy, maybe I’ll be willing to listen to their bleats for more laws.

    Tuesday, Feb 4 @ 5:22 pm
  • Gene Ralno

    Seems the best part of America’s population has had it with the democrat insistence on redistributing wealth from those who earned it to those who did not. Democrats know the path to seizing control of America’s wealth first requires control of American guns. It also seems democrats have forced conservatives to an inevitable brink. Consequently, they’re mobilizing in historic numbers.

    Clearly red flag laws have triggered the national movement for 2nd Amendment Sanctuary counties. And we’re already witnessing a sea change in the sanctuary movement. I’ve always believed these partisan and unconstitutional laws could be defeated by simply denying assistance to federal or state law enforcement.

    The obvious reason is federal and state resources alone are woefully inadequate to enforce such things as grip or storage violations and could not begin to undertake such efforts without local law enforcement assistance. If deputizing hundreds of thousands to actively resist federal and state efforts is representative of the whole movement, it’s a single issue rebellion which could rapidly expand.

    Hundreds of counties already have proclaimed sanctuary status and almost 70 percent of the counties nationwide are projected to declare allegiance to the Constitution and refusal to enforce laws that violate it. That would comprise 472 counties with only one murder per year plus 1,700 counties that have no murders at all. If that materializes, a desirable result would force federal and state enforcement to concentrate on the 63 counties (2% of the total) where half of America’s murders occur.

    Governors should be careful what they wish for because outlying counties are not without strengths. Where 2nd Amendment sanctuary lines are drawn, we should find states with few electors. Their strength will naturally ally with sparsely populated counties in states with many electors.

    They’re the counties that control all the food and water, wood products, oil and gas, wind turbines, hydroelectric power, minerals, highways, bridges, utility easements, access to most of the lakes, national and state parks, most natural resources and countless other life sustaining necessities.

    They’re much more likely to be armed and far less likely to surrender to the likes of any state or federal government official. They’re also more willing and able to survive deprivation of food, water, fuel and power. Perhaps most importantly, they have sheriffs who enforce laws within vast expanses of land and access to it. All these people are far more willing to fight for the constitutional republic rather than surrender it to democrat domination.

    Regarding other political forces, President James Madison said: “…local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere.” (Federalist 39)

    “There is no lawful authority for judges or a court to direct the law enforcement activities of a county sheriff. He’s not a part of the judiciary, and holds executive power and can set up a court, empanel a jury, and form a militia or posse to protect the rights of those he represents.”

    In other words, county sheriffs have the constitutional authority and duty to protect the citizens, by force if necessary, even if it means authorizing a militia. John Adams said, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” No mere governor may revoke them.

    Tuesday, Feb 4 @ 5:32 pm
  • wombatnc

    “God-given right to own a gun” – that’s a bunch of crap! I’m sure that on every Sunday, your Bible, Koran or any other holy book authorizes it.
    Laws and the Constitution give eligible citizens the right to own guns, but like all rights, they all have limitations. This notion that “I can have as many as I want and any kind of weapon I want” is wrong. I am a gun owner and believe that 2nd Amendment should be upheld. However, just and effective laws that protect the greater good should be maintained. People need to relax – NO ONE”S TAKING YOUR GUNS AWAY!! What a waste of the commissioner’s time and tax payers money.

    Wednesday, Feb 5 @ 9:05 am
  • Eugene

    Sorry, Gene Ralno is trying to scare you. Google him and and read his views. Guns aren’t his only agenda. He is one step from a cult compound and barricading his doors. If it isn’t apparent by his muddled verse above, he is a “professional” gun rights advocate with zero tolerance limits on any reasonable gun legislation. He posts his doomsday anti-government garbage all over the country. These are the people that are scaring you into overreacting. He will have you believe that any gun control legislation is the first step in confiscating all guns from our citizens. If you have already fallen for it, they got you, the boogie man is coming to confiscate your hunting rifles and shotguns. This is his business. He is not an Outer Banker. He knows not our people, traditions or values. He has hand picked quotes from historical leaders and twisted their words to fit the agenda.

    Why is this a political issue? Why is it republican vs. democrat? This is how political leaders get votes. We are already divided worse than ever. Who benefits from dividing our country further? Why would a candidate (Rollason) for the state legislature propose the idea? Why did Bobby Hanig leave Currituck and come speak before the Dare County Board? Politics as usual. Hot button topic to gain your vote.

    Wednesday, Feb 5 @ 10:13 am
  • sandflea

    Gene Ralno says: “Seems the best part of America’s population has had it with the democrat insistence on redistributing wealth from those who earned it to those who did not. ”

    You mean like taking 1.5-2 TRILLION DOLLARS and redistributing it to the top 0.1% of “wage earners”. That is Welfare for the Rich. I didn’t know billionaires and multi millionaires had it so rough. It’s haaaaard getting by on millions and billions.

    Wednesday, Feb 5 @ 11:29 am
  • Jeff Walker

    ‘In his remarks, Overman said that it was “obvious…the Second Amendment is under attack…This resolution is not a knee-jerk reaction. It proactively tells the governor and [General] Assembly that North Carolina is not Virginia.”’

    Meaningless resolution passed as part of a wave of resolutions in direct response to a bill in another state isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. Sure, buddy whatever you say.

    Thursday, Feb 6 @ 1:19 am
  • sandflea

    My opinion is that I think it’s all the little insecure people needing a big gun to give them confidence.

    Thursday, Feb 6 @ 8:12 am
  • Jon

    I believe the 2A gives an almost unrestricted right to own a gun (except felons, and maybe noncitizens, etc.) It also provides that membership in the militia can be compulsory, and indeed was at times in the colonial era. Seems like a simple solution to me.

    Thursday, Feb 6 @ 8:47 am
  • Lemonshirt

    when I see 2A supporters parading to support the right of muslims to practice their religion (1st A) and parading to support the right of undocumented immigrants to due process (5th A) and parading to support citizenship rights to children born of undocumented aliens, then I’ll start parading with them to support their 2A rights. Until then I consider the majority of the vocal 2A supporters to be simply “gun nuts”.

    Thursday, Feb 6 @ 3:17 pm
  • obxmike

    Maybe some people that think that one needs a gun to overcome their ‘insecurity’, hasn’t had the experience of being outnumbered or where you just might need an equalizer. I have a few places where I’ve been that you just might want to have your insecurity challenged. Care to take a trip? You get out alive? I’ll buy you a cupcake!

    Friday, Feb 7 @ 3:12 pm
  • Local

    What exactly is the point of this resolution? Are they going to pass specific resolutions to uphold other amendments? Seems extremely divisive, unnecessary and all for show.

    Saturday, Feb 8 @ 7:55 am
  • Eugene

    obxmike – Maybe you need to change where you hang out.

    Monday, Feb 10 @ 4:04 pm