Commission Votes Down Second Amendment Gun Resolution

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Commissioners voted down a resolution Monday, May 6, that would have backed the idea of state legislators and county sheriffs across the state “nullifying” federal gun control laws they consider unconstitutional.

The debate about Commissioner Terry Roland’s “Second Amendment Preservation Resolution” dominated a short commission agenda that also included a resolution honoring Commissioner Steve Mulroy for donating a kidney last week to the Methodist Healthcare transplant program.

Roland said he sponsored the Second Amendment resolution because his constituents wanted it. And he insisted the resolution was simply to state the commission’s general support of the right to bear arms.

“I’m not going to change any minds here,” Roland added as the debate continued.

Mulroy, a law professor at The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, questioned why the commission would want to do that. He also questioned the wording in the resolution which called on the Tennessee Legislature to “reject and nullify the enforcement of any federal acts, laws, executive orders, rules or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee.”

He termed the resolution “an extreme right-wing position.”

The commission also approved Monday a new five-year lease for Butcher Shop of Cordova LLC on county-owned property by Agricenter International at 107 Germantown Parkway. The initial term rent is $18,812.50 a month, or $225,750 a year.

The commission also approved a 240-unit apartment complex by Regency Homebuilders LLC at Lenow Road and Dexter Road, as well as a gravel pit by Memphis Stone and Gravel Co. at 10750 Pleasant Ridge Road.

In other action, the commission delayed for two weeks approval of $1.3 million in federal funding from the FBI and a $3.2 million contract for a new Sheriff’s Department firing range. Commissioners wanted to hear more about who might use the range, and had questions Monday about whether the Memphis Police Department would be among those using the range.

Sheriff’s Office Chief Administrative Officer Chuck Fox told commissioners the MPD has its own firing range that is used by 5,000 officers a year, compared with 2,400 a year who use the existing sheriff’s department firing range.

The commission voted down a $368,372 federal-through-state grant to the county Community Services division. The grant from the Tennessee Department of Human Services was specifically for emergency assistance with rent and mortgage payments as well as uniform and food vouchers, and gas cards and bus passes for those at or below the poverty level locally.

The body also voted down accepting a $225,000 federal grant to be used for a bus transit and workplace study that is part of the county’s “Greenprint” initiative.

And the commission appointed Howard Golwen to the Shelby County Board of Equalization. Golwen, a retired banker with Regions Bank of Memphis, will serve on the board through the end of April 2014.