The Oconee County Gun Coalition is making plans to ask the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to pass a resolution declaring the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
If the Board of Commissioners were to approve the resolution, the county would join at least 21 other counties in the state in supporting decisions by the Sheriff “to not enforce any unconstitutional firearm restrictions.”
The resolution also calls on the commissioners to agree not to use government funds or resources to enforce any law “that unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
Anglin did not have a time line for when he planned to introduce his resolution to the Board of Commissioners, three of whom were in the standing-room only crowd at the Oconee County Chamber Of Commerce auditorium in Watkinsville.
Oconee County Republicans also heard Carolyn Fisher, first vice president of the state Republican Party, call for party civility, referencing the contest between incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and challenger Doug Collins in the special election scheduled for November.
Candidates James Hale and Jimmy Williamson, both seeking to replace retiring Sheriff Scott Berry, also made pitches for support in the May 19 Republican Party Primary.
Michael Ranson was not at the meeting, but he issued a news release Monday announcing that he plans to seek the Republican Party nomination to replace retiring Board of Education Member Wayne Bagley. Ranson is a member of the county’s Farmland Preservation Committee.
Second Amendment Sanctuary County
Anglin thanked Oconee County Republican Party Chair Steven Strickland for inviting him to the meeting and told the Republicans gathered that the Oconee County Gun Coalition has been meeting informally since early last year.
He said his group was concerned about the governor’s race last year because “there’s been an attack on the Second Amendment.”
The group held its first formal meeting last month, Anglin said.
“We really advocate for trying to preserve the freedom that we have,” he said. “We know the state can go in a direction that we don’t want to see it go in,” he said. “We know that is possible.”
The resolution that the group is asking the Board of Commissioners to adopt does not change the law, Anglin said.
Rather, Anglin said, “it is a statement, a political statement, to our state representatives, to our governor, to those that represent us, Congressmen, that we’ve had enough.
“We’re tired of our life being violated,” he said. “We don’t want to see more infringements on the Second Amendment than are already on there. We don’t want to see the state or the federal government take that initiative.”
Oconee County Statement
“If Oconee County puts their name on the map and says, hey, enough is enough,” Anglin said. “We make a statement to the state that says we stand by the United States Constitution.
“We can be any other country,” Anglin said. “Or we can be the United States that was built on freedom and having liberty and the right to protect ourselves against all forms of tyranny both foreign and domestic.”
The exact wording of the proposed resolution is shown below in a post from the Oconee County Gun Coalition Facebook page.
Board of Commission Chair John Daniell, Commissioner Chuck Horton and Commission Mark Thomas were in the audience as Anglin spoke.
Some from the audience asked Daniell, Horton and Thomas to respond.
Thomas, who was standing at the end of the room, said it was the first time he had seen the resolution and that he would need time to read and consider it. Daniell and Horton did not speak up.
Strickland asked that the commissioners be given a chance to read and consider the resolution before being asked to respond.
Anglin told me in a telephone conversation Tuesday that “at this point, we’re not sure where to go next” in terms of introducing the resolution to the Board of Commissioners.
The group plans to meet at 10:30 a.m. on March 7 at the Oconee County Library.
Tom McElwaine of Shooters Den, 1040 Turkey Industrial Boulevard, Watkinsville, will be a speaker, Anglin said.
Anglin lives in the south of the county.
In response to a question from the audience, Anglin said his group has endorsed Hale for Sheriff.
“I like both men personally,” he added.
Fisher On Loeffler And Collins
“It’s wonderful that we’re all pulling together so that we can reelect Donald Trump as our president and David Perdue as our senator,” Fisher said near the beginning of her comments. She repeated the reference to the reelection of Trump and Perdue again a few minutes later.
She did not mention Sen. Loeffler, but she ended her comments by criticizing Republicans for fighting in the open.
“We don’t need to call other Republicans names,” she said. “We don’t need to say that they are bad people for doing what they’re doing, for running for office, for whatever. We need to treat our fellow conservatives with respect and dignity.”
When Fisher said she would take questions, Bill Mayberry, who usually asks the first questions of speakers at Oconee County Republican Party meetings, said “Good point on not fighting among ourselves. However, is that going to translate to the Loeffler versus Collins race?”
Fisher said she “was not really happy about” the way things already are playing out in that contest.
Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to fill out the term of Johnny Isakson, who stepped down for health reasons. Collins has said he will challenge Loeffler in the open election in November.
No primaries will be held, and at least three Democrats also have declared they will run for the seat. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held in January between the two top candidates.
“So what we’ve got to be careful of,” Fisher said, “we at least want there to be a Republican to vote for.”
Fisher On Other Topics
Fisher said Georgia is a “target state” and said the party will have a large number of people in the state working for Trump’s reelection.
Much of her time was spent talking about the election of delegates to the national convention, but she did offer her assessment of the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
“They’re just pitiful, aren’t they?” she said. “They’re just so sad.”
“They are socialists,” Fisher said at a later point in reference to Democrats. “They want to completely turn our way of life around.”
Fisher said more Democrats are qualifying in Georgia now than in the past.
“The change in demographics is happening all over the country,” she said. “But the Republican Party is for everybody,” she added. “It is the right place, the right home for everybody. It is America.”
Hale For Sheriff
Hale, who currently is captain in the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, introduced himself as an Oconee County native who grew up on his family’s dairy farm in the south of the county.
Hale said he has been a public servant all his life.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do something to help somebody else out, no matter what that is.”
Hale focused on his work with the Oconee County Schools in much of his presentation.
“My kids being in the Oconee Schools is the driving force for me doing just about anything I do here in Oconee County,” he said.
“I love the School System. I love the Schools,” he said. “For the last probably 16 years now I’ve been working in some capacity with the School System to try to beef up security and safety in our schools.”
Hale said he also wants to build on his relationship with county government.
“With us all working together as a team, I think, has been something that I really wanted to try to do and continue to work towards that and build those relationships that we’ve already built for many years,” Hale said in closing his comments.
Williamson For Sheriff
Williamson, who retired as police chief at the University of Georgia, said he has lived in Oconee County for 26 years.
“Oconee County is growing at record paces,” Williamson said. “The challenges for the next sheriff are going to be huge.
“And we have to be collaborative with John and Chuck and Mark and Mark and Bubber in every way,” he said, referring to the county’s five commissioners by first name. “That philosophy that it’s the sheriff’s way and it’s always the right way, is not the way of the future.”
“To be a true law enforcement leader,” Williamson said. “You’re a CEO of a business.”
“I’ll never tell you I run the show, because I work for you as the sheriff,” Williamson said.
“There’s a lot of things that we currently do that I feel sends undertone messaging whether we mean to or not,” Williamson said. “We have to be very careful with our messaging.”
“I’m the type of candidate you need to run the Sheriff’s Office because you are looking for a CEO,” Williams said in closing, noting in particular his master’s degree in public administration. “For almost 23 years of my 30 years I helped manage or did manage the business side of law enforcement.”
The video below is of the Feb. 24 meeting of the Republican Party.
I counted 46 people in the audience as the meeting began and noted at least five more who joined the meeting in session.
Fisher started her comments at 6:24 in the video.
Anglin spoke at 33:11 in the video.
Hale made his comments starting at 47:09.
Williamson spoke at 59:33 in the video.