From staff reports

The Upshur County commissioners Friday added their jurisdiction to the growing list of counties and cities in Texas and elsewhere that have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries to protect gun rights.

“It is a symbolic gesture to show the state Legislature we think we ought to be able to protect our Second Amendment rights,” County Judge Todd Tefteller said after the 5-0 vote. “It’s more like sending a message, but I don’t have any fear in losing my constitutional rights.”

Tefteller said Pct. 1 Constable Gene Dolle brought the resolution to the court, adding that some people in law enforcement requested it, and no one at Friday’s regular commissioners meeting spoke against it.

Upshur is the ninth Texas county out of 254 total to declare itself a Second Amendment sanctuary county, according to . Neighboring Smith County passed a resolution in October. Others are Hudspeth, Presidio, Edwards, Mitchell, Parker, Hood and Ellis counties.

Smith County Pct. 3 Commissioner Terry Phillips said at an Oct. 29 commissioners court meeting that the decision to place the resolution on the court’s agenda was “because the Second Amendment is under attack, and I want to (defend it).”

Rachel Malone of Gun Owners for America told Smith County commissioners that, “Frankly, I believe this kind of a resolution is necessary for the safety and security of Smith County, so I thank you for considering it,” Malone said.

A Nov. 6 Texas Monthly article attributed the movement to threats by Democratic presidential candidates — specifically former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has dropped out of the race — to impose strict limits on certain firearms.

The resolutions passed by the counties generally state that county resources won’t be used “for any ‘acts, laws, orders, mandates, rules, or regulations that infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,’ including registering existing lawfully owned firearms and bans or restrictions on semiautomatic weapons and ammunition,” according to Texas Monthly.

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