Warsaw American Legion Post 49 Commander John Mort presented Kosciusko County Commissioners President Bob Conley an Honor and Remembrance flag Tuesday to honor Conley’s father. Photo by Amanda Bridgman, Times-Union
Warsaw American Legion Post 49 Commander John Mort presented Kosciusko County Commissioners President Bob Conley an Honor and Remembrance flag Tuesday to honor Conley’s father. Photo by Amanda Bridgman, Times-Union
The Kosciusko County Commissioners and sheriff are taking issue with President Joe Biden’s Second Amendment actions and inviting residents to a meeting to voice their concerns.

At the commissioners meeting Tuesday, County Attorney Ed Ormsby said the county has an announcement to make regarding Biden’s recent actions concerning the people’s right to keep and bear arms.

Ormsby said Kosciusko County passed an ordinance Dec. 22, making the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary county.

Ormsby said that during Biden’s remarks on April 8, Biden announced actions against guns and indicated there are more to come. He went through some of those actions, including that within 30 days the Justice Department will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.”

“Ghost guns is a term that President Biden likes to use for homemade guns,” Ormsby said.

Other actions Biden talked about included a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act; the Justice Department will publish “red flag” legislation for states that would allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from access to firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others; Biden will nominate David Chipman to serve as director of the ATF; banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; institute a program to buy back weapons of war currently on the streets that will give individuals two options: to sell the weapons to the government or register them under the National Firearms Act; restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one; prohibit all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits and gun parts; and that Biden will “put America on the path to ensuring that 100% of firearms sold in America are smart guns, which are guns that has technology requiring a fingerprint match before use.

“Obviously, the county is very concerned about these developments,” Ormsby said. “At the next county commissioners meeting (9 a.m. April 27), the county will be taking up a resolution to state its policy on the right of the people to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 32 of the Indiana Constitution. Sheriff (Kyle)?Dukes will also be present and will issue a proclamation from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office regarding the same. The commissioners and the sheriff invite all citizens concerned about their right to keep and bear arms to be present at that meeting.”

In other matters, the commissioners heard from Don Finnegan, the state director of the Honor and Remembrance Committee.

Finnegan talked about the background of the committee, saying it started with the death of a young man named Tony Lutz who was killed in action Dec. 29, 2005, by a sniper in Iraq.

Lutz’s father, George, wanted to do something with his grief and let other families know they’re not alone, Finnegan said.

The Honor and Remember flag was launched Memorial Day 2008, Finnegan said, and serves as a nationwide symbol of remembrance for not only those that died in action but those that died as a result of their service from things like Agent Orange or PTSD.

“This flag represents a remembrance for any war, conflict from the American Revolution to current day. It is not just a flag for the current,” he said.

Finnegan said in March 2020, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1045 that allows all 425 state-owned buildings to fly and display the flag.

“It’s nice for Kosciusko County to step up and do what very few have at this point in time,” Finnegan said of the county flying the flag.

The red on the flag represents blood spill, white is the purity of the sacrifice, the blue star originated in World War I, the gold is that the hero is not returning home and reflects the value of life given, and the eternal flame is for the departed.

“So part of our goal is education,”?Finnegan said. “We have our three minutes at Memorial Day, but most of it‘s about hot dogs and hamburgers and it’s the start of summer, which we all love, but the true point is that Memorial Day is families don’t need it, they’re not gonna forget, it’s really for the other 98 and a half percent of Americans.”

The Honor and Sacrifice flag was created to honor first responders.

Both flags can be personalized and are given to families.

Finnegan said an Honor and Sacrifice personalized flag was given to KCSO Det. Sgt. Phillip Hochstetler, who was shot and killed in the line of duty June 29, 1994, in Warsaw.

“It’s a remembrance and a keepsake to the family,” Finnegan said, before surprising Commissioners President Bob Conley with a personalized Honor and Remembrance flag for Conley’s father, PFC Elbert K. Conley.

Conley became emotional accepting the flag and thanked Finnegan and Warsaw American Legion Post 49 members for their service.

Also Tuesday, commissioners:

• Approved Kosciusko County Central Dispatch Director Sarah Lancaster’s request to apply for a $150,000 grant to purchase radios and back up radios in case something happens at the Justice Building or the courthouse.

• Heard from Dukes it’s telecommunication week. “A big shout out to our dispatch family and team down there,” Dukes said. “It’s a tough job and one of the toughest jobs at the sheriff’s office, so in looking at last year, that group of individuals (logged) 84,000 phone calls last year.”

• Approved Kosciusko County Highway Superintendent Steve Moriarty’s request to award Ransbottom Excavating the small structure repair job on County Farm Road, north CR 450S for their bid of $71,565.

The next Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting is 9 a.m. April 27 at the courthouse.