90% of Virginia counties become gun ‘sanctuaries
The movement expands to additional states.
Democratic proposals to take, register, and possibly seize legally obtained weapons, has awoken the proverbial sleeping giant. Virginia gun owners in just 43 days have pushed 90% of the state’s counties to become gun “sanctuaries.”
Since the Nov. 5 election that gave Democrats control of Richmond, an “organic,” pro-gun movement has prompted the governments of 86 of Virginia’s 95 counties, as well as 15 towns and cities, to adopt some type of sanctuary language, putting Gov. Ralph Northam and other liberals on notice that their gun control plans aren’t welcome.
“I did not think it would be that high of a number,” said sanctuary advocate and Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins.
“It’s an organic thing that just took off after Election Day. Elections have consequences, and this is the result. This has truly rocked the conservative, libertarian group’s core. It has really shook a lot of them awake. They are fully awake,” he said in an interview.
Remarkably, the effort has not seen a big push from the National Rifle Association. Local groups, notably the Virginia Citizens Defense League, have led the campaign that has brought thousands of gun-rights advocates to county board meetings.
It has also become the national model for the movement that has now reached Illinois, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Tennessee.
Illinois is credited with starting the movement.
“What’s happening is Virginia is becoming a national story and model,” said Cam Edwards, editor of Bearing Arms and a national authority on gun laws.
The language adopted in the movement uses words such as “Second Amendment Sanctuary” and “constitutional,” and signals that police will not enforce anti-gun laws. Proposals before the Virginia legislature include gun bans, gun registration, expanded background checks, and limits on the size of magazines that hold cartridges.
Proponents warn, however, that the resolutions do not provide legal protection against gun control measures.
Sheriff Jenkins said that Richmond should instead enforce laws already on the books to target criminals, not those who use their weapons legally.
“It’s all part of an agenda to further take away firearms, restrict and register weapons, and there is no need for it. There are enough laws already in place on weapon restrictions. We need no new laws. We need to focus on the ones we have,” he said.
He and Edwards said that the movement is the latest evidence of the urban-rural divide.
“It’s not the NRA, as everyone might expect,” said Jenkins, who has proposed deputizing gun owners to protect their weapons from any gun grab.
Instead, he added, it is a movement of people who feel their culture and way of life are under attack.
“They are the ones you don’t hear from. They’re not going to speak out at the board meetings or polling places and write editorials. They’re the everyday man who is focused on raising a family, going to work, and trying to live a good life and be a good citizen, and they see this as people who have no knowledge of what they’re family means when it comes to protection or the bearing of arms, nor can they relate to their culture of hunting or sport shooting or anything about them, and yet they want to come from their urban areas … and they drive to Richmond, where they want to implement these laws where the vast amount of Virginia is going to be affected by it even though they have not done anything wrong,” he said.
Perhaps some of these states should borrow the Idaho Declaration of Rights. In particular, the last sentence in Article 1, Section 11:
Right to keep and bear arms. The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent the passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of any legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.