Connor Hoy

Connor Hoy shoots a registered AR-15 at a gun range.

BOONE — A petition started by an Appalachian State University student is soliciting signatures to request that Watauga County become a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” following a movement of other municipalities where officials have passed a resolution stating they would oppose efforts to restrict a citizen’s right to bear arms.

The movement gained national attention when a considerable amount of counties and towns in Virginia started to declare themselves as “sanctuaries.” According to USA Today, officials started to declare the sanctuary status ahead of potential gun laws set forth by a Democratic-controlled General Assembly that took office in January. Town and counties in other states have started to follow suit, including some in North Carolina.

Counties surrounding Watauga have declared themselves to be sanctuaries. According to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, the Wilkes County commissioners approved a resolution on Jan. 7 to declare itself a “Second Amendment Constitutional Rights Protection County.” Ashe County commissioners also declared their county a Second Amendment sanctuary on Jan. 21. Avery County commissioners authorized the adoption of a similar resolution on Feb. 3.

All three counties passed the sanctuary resolutions unanimously.

Connor Hoy is a 23-year-old history major at App State, and said what was being reported in Virginia was a “wake-up call” to him and he feared restricting gun laws could be pursued in North Carolina.

“I’ve become increasingly concerned about the trajectory of our nation,” Hoy said. “It seems to me that people have become so conflicted with what political party they are part of and have forgotten what America should be all about, which is individual liberty and freedom.”

Hoy helped to create an online petition alongside others in late January, asking citizens to encourage Watauga to become a Second Amendment sanctuary county. The online petition states that this would mean that the county “will offer no resources, funding, nor personnel in support of un-constitutional gun control such as red flag laws, universal background checks (or) weapons bans.”

“I’m doing this, not because I’m a gun enthusiast, but because I’m a freedom enthusiast,” Hoy said. “I want to protect my freedom and the freedom of the people I care about.”

Alison Gates is a spokesperson for the local Moms Demand Action group — a national organization and grassroots movement of those advocating for public safety measures for protection from gun violence, according to the organization. Gates said that proponents of these types of sanctuary resolutions operate on a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the rights afforded by the Second Amendment.

Gates mentioned the United States Supreme Court’s decision in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, that it is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The court’s opinion mentioned the “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Many supporters of Moms Demand Action are gun owners, Gates said. She added that the focus of the work conducted by Moms Demand Action and similar groups is to develop and implement common-sense gun violence prevention measures — not to deprive citizens of their Second Amendment rights. The measures that Gates mentioned were universal background checks, high capacity magazine laws, assault weapon bans and red flag laws/extreme risk protection orders.

“The ‘sanctuary movement’ only serves to undermine these protections that we should all be provided,” Gates said. “Indeed, the vast majority of Americans support laws such as these that can keep our families safe. Rather than passing dangerous resolutions with no impact on our state or local law, our leaders should focus on solutions that can keep our families safe in North Carolina.”

As of mid-day on March 5, Watauga’s online sanctuary petition had reached 561 signees — halfway to its goal of 1,000. Hoy said he recognized that only physical paper petitions signed by registered voters in Watauga County would be legally binding, so he had placed a few in businesses around Boone such as Cornbread Tactical and Outdoorsman.

The next step for the movement locally would be to obtain signatures on a physical petition, and then to approach the Watauga County Board of Commissioners later this year, Hoy said. He mentioned that he had a concern with getting commissioner approval, as the board currently sits at one Republican member and four Democrats.

“All I really care about is getting a resolution in front of the county commissioners even if the chance of the resolution getting passed is essentially zero,” Hoy said. “I would like those county commissioners to look at me and their county constituents in the eyes and say that they want to limit or at least not protect our individual freedom because then I know where they stand.”

Commissioner Chairman John Welch, a Democrat, said he takes his oath of office to “support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States” very seriously.

“Because of this, I do not view one article or amendment as more important than the others,” Welch said. “I do not see a need for a resolution such as this because Watauga County will continue to respect and defend every citizen’s rights as laid out by this founding document.”

Commissioner Perry Yates, a Republican, said he believes each person has the right to have a firearm, not to harm others but to protect themselves. He added that he believes that the Second Amendment was included in the U.S. Constitution to prevent a tyrannical government.

“It’s not the guns who kill people, just like knives don’t kill people,” Yates said. “It’s the people behind the weapon who kill people. That’s my belief. I think it’s our constitutional right given by our forefathers to bear arms for the protection of ourselves.”

Requests for comment from Commissioners Charlie Wallin, Billy Kennedy and Larry Turnbow were not met by presstime.

If a sanctuary resolution were to be passed in Watauga, Hoy said, as a citizen, he would help to ensure the county was abiding by the resolution and not enforcing new gun laws or regulations.

“The only guarantee of eternal liberty is eternal diligence,” Hoy said.

To view the online petition, visit and search for “Make Watauga County NC a 2A Sanctuary County.”

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(15) comments

Call me ishmael Mar 10, 2020 7:36am

Perhaps you might want to read the Constitution and its supporting documents such as the Federalist Papers., as well as the Bill of Rights. All of these indicate the Creator gave us the Bill of rights including the 2nd. amendment.However to answer your question, you might want to look at Luke 22:36. This says that Jesus told his disciples if they did not have a sword they should sell their garments and buy some.


Nothing like dropping an out of context biblical citation to back up a weak argument. Jesus actually told the disciples to buy "a" sword (not plural), told them two was plenty (even though there were 11 of them), and then told Peter, when he sliced Malchus' ear with one of those swords: "... for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

So yeah, good argument there bud.

Call me ishmael

First off all, i was referring to the Constitution and the bill of rights, not the Bible. i was asked for a statement in the Bible that supported being armed. I gave you one.

No one said you always win even though you are armed. However, you have a much better chance than if you are not armed.

There were 12 disciples, not 11. Judas did not cease being a disciple because he betrayed Jesus.

I was not the one that brougham the Bible into the conversation. Thank you for your support.

Call me ishmael

Hubis, I was asked to provide a line from the Bible concerning bearing arms. I did. By the way, there were12 disciples not 11.

I did not bring the Bible into the conversation so thank you for your support.

I went to the change,org site, but I didn't see the SEARCH function. Please tell me how to sign the petition, because I very much want to sign it,

Good afternoon. There are paper copies of the petition at Cornbread Tactical, Xtreme Gun & Pawn, The Outdoorsman, and Wildlife Unlimited. If you or anyone else is looking to help support the petition please visit one of those sites to add your name in support of the second amendment. Thank you.

Call me ishmael

Are you serious? Look at the civil rights violations that are happening in Virginia. Mr. Hoy is merely being pro-active. Bloomberg has targeted North Carolina. He intends to by our legislature the same way he tried to buy the presidential nomination. That did not work and thanks to people such as Mr. Hoy, he will have a difficult time in North Carolina. He was successful in Virginia because there was no opposition from the grass roots. Since he successfully purchased the legislature up there, over 90% of the counties in Virginia have become 2nd. Amendment sanitary counties. It is to Mr. Hoys credit that he wants to add Watauga to the over 50% of N.C. counties that have already joined the ranks of 2nd. Amendment Sanctuaries..

Kinney R. Baughman

Of course I'm serious. I wasn't aware they had repealed the 2nd Amendment in Virginia. When did that happen?

Call me ishmael

They have not repealed the 2nd. Amendment.

They are ignoring it. They are using the premise that everything is legal until it is challenged in court. Also they are attempting to do the same thing with the 1st, 4th.and 6th. Amendments There is a very real chance that if the Government of Virginia tries to push these laws before they are declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS, that the people of Virginia will be forced to reaffirm the Constitution wilth arms. If this happens, God help us all.

The 2nd.Amendment was, after all, intended to protect the people from a tyrannical government. This. Amendment is a limit on the government, not the people. The right to keep and bear arms was given by the Creator and affirmed by the Constitution. .

I am wondering what your opinion is of Mark Robinson's victory in the Lt. Governor primary.

Call me ishmael

Virginia has not repealed the 2nd.Amendment and cannot do so. The 2nd. Amendment is a basic human right given by the Creator and affirmed by the Constitution. It is a limit on the power of government, not the people. Indeed, the intent of the amendment in the Constitution was to prevent a tyrannical government from being able to impose its will on the people. If these laws that have been passed by the Virginia legislature are going to be enforced before SCOUTUS declares them unconstitutional, then there is a strong possibility that there will be an armed response by the people of Virginia to restore the Constitution. If this happens, God help us all. The 2nd. Amendment Sanctuary movement is an attempt to avoid this.

Virginia is also violating the 1st. 4th.5th. and 6th. Amendments with these laws.

Out of curiosity, what is your opinion of the victory of Mark Robinson in the Lt. Governor primary. His claim to fame was a speech he gave off the cuff to the Greensboro city council concerning an anti-gun proposition the council was proposing. In a crowded field he beat several career politicians (including a seated State Senator) with a majority that precludes a run off

Could you please cite the exact line in the bible that guarantees the 2nd amendment in the US? You bring "the Creator" into your argument, as if that gives your opinion some kind of validity, yet it honestly just makes you sound like raving lunatic...

Kinney R. Baughman

Sorry. But this is just a solution looking for a problem.

My question to Mr. Hoy:

Have you been prevented from buying a gun in Watauga County?

If not, then how are your "freedoms" being violated?

And if your freedoms *aren't* being violated, why are you wasting everyone's time?


Very nice to know some students at ASU have good common sense and respect for the forming fathers wisdom in our US Constitution, unlike most of the faculty at our state university! Thank you Connor Hoy and let your parents know how wise they are in raising such a fine young man and American.

Call me ishmael

I am curtain the last thing the commissioners want to do is address this issue. This is because the left leaning university is not going to be in favor of passing a sanctuary resolution. Thisvpit of liberalism has taken over Boone and will take over the county unless the rural areas ban together to stop it.

It is rather embarrassing that every county that joins Watauga in North Carolina is a 2nd. Amendment Sanctuary county and Johnson County in Tennessee as adopted a resolution in support of the 2nd. amendment. Common sense gun control laws would be teaching mandatory gun safety and the use of firearms in schools, arming those teachers that are willing to do so, and requiring a safety resource officer at every school . If gun fee zones actually worked, the Democrats would not be asking for 50 million dollars for security at their national. convention. They would simply put up some signs.



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