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New Investigation Details Extremism of Groups Pushing Lawless County Resolutions in Kentucky

February 20, 2020

In a new story published in USA Today and the Courier Journal, John Bullington details the division — and growing extremism — fueling the effort to pass lawless resolutions in Kentucky. 

At the center of the piece is John Cartwright, creator of one of the heavily armed groups that took to the capitol earlier this month. As detailed in the piece, Cartwright is barred from owning guns because he is a convicted felon — a fact that, according to the article, led to the fracture in a group calling for counties to pass lawless resolutions.

The Courier Journal reports:

“It’s a right that Cartwright can’t take advantage of himself. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to felony counts of defrauding a secured creditor, obliterating his own Second Amendment protections
The public disclosure of that conviction, coupled with Cartwright’s self-admitted ‘stern’ manner, ultimately caused Griffieth and other Kentucky United leaders to splinter from the group in mid-January – but not before they transformed Kentucky into a Second Amendment ‘sanctuary.’”

Members of groups like Kentucky United pushing these resolutions have also demonstrated increasingly extreme rhetoric, the Courier Journal story reports: 

“A Courier Journal review of the group’s Facebook page found multiple posts that attack liberals or accuse Democratic lawmakers of committing treason for sponsoring gun-control bills.

Other members have shared right-wing conspiracy theories, left blatantly Islamophobic comments, or made threats of violence.

One member, responding to a comment about a plan by Democrats to take guns ‘a step at a time,’ wrote: ‘and we fight back a bullet at a time.’”

In contrast to the extreme agenda of these groups and their hard-line opposition to common-sense gun safety laws, more than 100 Kentucky Moms Demand Action volunteers gathered at the statehouse last week to remind lawmakers of the lives on the line. Gun violence survivors and activists from across the statehouse rallied and honored the nearly 700 people shot and killed every year in Kentucky with action.

As one volunteer with Kentucky Moms Demand Action told the Courier Journal, lawless county resolutions are an intimidation tactic and distraction from the public health crisis at hand:

“‘They’re really overstepping their role in the constitutional system and undermining the rule of law,’ said Kathi Crowe, legislative lead volunteer for gun violence-prevention group Moms Demand Action’s Kentucky chapter. ‘I think a lot of this is to intimidate parents, survivors and people who want protection from gun violence.’”

You can learn more about these lawless counties here and find the letter Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, sent to the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Counties here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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