Boone County GOP censures Sen. Mitch McConnell, calls for resignation

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected].

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The Boone County Republican Party censured Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in a symbolic move last week over his support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

The act, which was passed in July, enhances background checks by giving authorities 10 business days to search through juvenile and mental health records for those between the ages of 18 and 21 trying to purchase a gun. It also gives money to states to implement “red flag” laws that allow police to temporarily remove guns from dangerous people and prevents domestic abusers from purchasing firearms.

While the main part of the bill addresses gun safety issues, it also provides money for mental health resources for schools and communities, along with funds to boost school safety.

“What the bill does contain are commonsense solutions that are overwhelmingly popular with lawful gun owners, such as adding juvenile criminal records and mental health issues into the background check system,” McConnell said on the Senate floor while advocating for the bill. “It also provides significant new funding for mental health in schools.”

But the Boone County Republican party said that they are calling on elected officials to oppose what they called unconstitutional gun control efforts.

“The Boone County Republican Party hereby formally censures Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, calls for his resignation as Senate Republican Leader, and shall cease any and all support of him as a Republican,” the resolution reads. 

Read the resolution in full below:

However, McConnell’s team said he supports gun rights, and his recent vote to address gun safety, school safety, and mental health doesn’t deter law abiding citizens from legally obtaining guns.

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“Bipartisan talks had started up after horrifying mass murder incidents in the past, but collapsed when Senate Democrats insisted on attacking the Second Amendment,” McConnell said. “This time was different because Democrats finally moved our way and accepted the reality that Americans do not have to choose between their constitutional rights and safer communities. They can have both.”

The Boone County GOP resolution goes on to say that all major gun rights groups opposed the legislation. However, several national police organizations did support it, including the National Association of Police Organizations, the Fraternal Order of Police/International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association. 

“The legislation, which is a uniquely bipartisan effort, contains additional tools and resources for our communities to address the criminal misuse of firearms and strengthens our ability to provide mental health resources and services for those that need it,” the Fraternal Order of Police/International Association of Chiefs of Police said in a statement. 

The Boone County Republican Party, which is chaired by county commission candidate Chet Hand, is no stranger to censures or controversial decisions. They censured Secretary of State Michael Adams earlier this year for his opposition to “frivolous” recounts.

The group also donated $25,000 to the Jessica Neal recount fund, with the money allegedly coming from a single donor, which would violate Kentucky election laws. Hand denied the money came from a single donor, though he wouldn’t reveal who donated the money.

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