Politics & Government

Parker County declares it is a Second Amendment ‘sanctuary’

Parker County officials sent a message on Monday.

Don’t mess with their guns.

This community became the sixth county in Texas where leaders passed a resolution declaring it is a Second Amendment “sanctuary county.”

This move was a way, officials say, for them to declare their support for the Second Amendment, which protects people’s right to keep and carry guns, while recognizing the sheriff’s option to “not enforce any unconstitutional firearms restrictions against any citizen.”

“We’ve done been warned that they are coming after our guns if a certain presidential candidate is elected,” said George Conley, the Springtown-area commissioner who proposed this resolution. “He’s not going to win anyway, but he did warn us.

“And if he’s thinking it, other people are too,” he said. “Once they take one kind of gun, they’ll take another.”

The resolution was unanimously approved Monday morning.

In the wake of mass shootings earlier this year, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke declared that he supported a mandatory buyback of assault-style rifles. “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said during a Democratic presidential debate in September.

Even so, not everyone in Parker County — about 30 miles west of Fort Worth — believes Monday’s resolution was necessary.

“I think this was one of the most divisive things our county commissioners could have chosen to bring forward in their court,” said Kay Parr, who heads the Parker County Democratic Party. “I think this is a very dangerous thing to do.

“It sends a message to citizens that if you don’t like the law, just don’t obey it.”

Texas sanctuaries

Texans have been able to carry their handguns concealed since 1995 and openly carry them since 2016.

Edwards County was the first Texas community to pass a resolution declaring itself a sanctuary county last year.

Hudspeth, Presidio and Mitchell counties followed suit.

Hood County became the fifth Texas county earlier this month to pass a resolution declaring it is a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”

After Hood County passed its resolution, Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said he received several phone calls from residents.

“They were asking me how I felt about the situation in Hood County,” Fowler said. “To be quite honest, I told them I wish I had thought of it first. But I didn’t.”

“I don’t want the Second Amendment jacked with,” he said. “It’s fine the way it is.“

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.