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Lehighton noncommittal on passing Second Amendment sanctuary resolution

Lehighton remains noncommittal on a resolution that would see the borough listed as a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Mayor Clark Ritter once again told borough council on Monday that he would like to them pass the resolution, which he said continues to gather traction.

Ritter said when he last checked, there were 2,259 online supporters of the resolution, which he noted has been passed by various municipalities in the county.

“I’d like to see us jump on board,” Ritter said. “It’s too important to ignore.”

Ritter said he believes in our Constitution, especially the First and Second Amendments.

However, Councilman Joe Flickinger said he didn’t see things the same way as Ritter, and that if council is going to do it for one, then it should be for all of them.

Ritter stressed this is a push to preserve the Second Amendment, which he said is being attacked.

Regardless, Flickinger stuck to his guns.

“If we’re going to draft a resolution supporting (the Second Amendment), then we should be supporting all of them,” Flickinger said.

Councilwoman Autumn Abelovsky noted that as the wife of a police officer, she fully supports the Second Amendment, but that she’s concerned with its terminology.

It was then asked whether Ritter, in his role as mayor, could adopt a proclamation, to which borough solicitor Jim Nanovic answered in the affirmative.

Nanovic said he has reviewed the resolutions that have previously been adopted by Palmerton and Bowmanstown to have their respective boroughs listed as a Second Amendment sanctuary.

During the meeting, Ritter informed council that Penn Forest Township supervisors had adopted the resolution at their meeting Monday night.

Flickinger was quick to point out that was Penn Forest Township, and not Lehighton.

Abelovsky said she supports Ritter should he choose to present a proclamation supporting the Second Amendment.

“I believe the mayor, (as he) is the head of our police department, and believe it would speak volumes if it would come from him,” she said.

After the meeting, Abelovsky clarified her remarks.

“As this issue would directly affect the police department, I believe any actions should come through the mayor and not council, as he (Ritter) is the head of the police department,” she said.

Last month, Ritter told council he wanted to see the borough listed as a Second Amendment sanctuary, and cited proposed federal laws H.R. 127 and H.R. 130 as causes for concern.

Ritter noted that both Palmerton and Bowmanstown have approved resolutions to have their respective boroughs listed as a Second Amendment sanctuary, and asked for the resolution to be listed on Monday’s meeting agenda for a vote.

The resolution was started up by Brandon Bell, who initially approached council with the petition in February.

Bell, a Jim Thorpe native who is the lead coordinator of the movement, has visited various boroughs and townships asking government officials to consider adopting an ordinance that typically rejects the enforcement of state or federal gun laws sensed to violate the Second Amendment.

Bell is running for Penn Forest Township supervisor in the May primary.