As Virginians brace themselves for the incoming Democrat-controlled state legislature that has pledged to enact strict gun-control policies, over 100 counties and cities have responded by declaring themselves gun sanctuaries.
The growing movement comes as Democrats are just over two weeks away from taking control of both houses of the Virginia legislature for the first time since 1996, following major wins for the party in November.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring reacted to the large number of sanctuary localities by issuing an advisory opinion asserting that such sanctuary resolutions have no legal standing.
“It is my opinion that these resolutions have no legal effect,” Herring stated in his letter. “It is my further opinion that localities and local constitutional officers cannot nullify state laws and must comply with gun violence prevention measures that the General Assembly may enact.”
The Bristol Herald Courier quoted Herring as emphasizing that gun-control laws “will be enforced” and painting the gun sanctuary movement as fear-mongering by the “gun lobby.”
“When the General Assembly passes new gun safety laws they will be enforced, and they will be followed. These [Second Amendment Sanctuary] resolutions have no legal force, and they’re just part of an effort by the gun lobby to stoke fear.”
Despite Herring’s characterization, resistance to proposed gun-control measures is not limited to firearms advocates. Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins has vowed to deputize citizens if Democrats pass gun control.
“Every Sheriff and Commonwealth Attorney in Virginia will see the consequences if our General Assembly passes further unnecessary gun restrictions,” Jenkins said. “I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms.”
Democrat Governor Ralph Northam — SB 17 and SB 16, which would ban semi-automatic “assault weapons” like the popular AR-15, raise the minimum purchase age to 21, and require background checks for any private firearm transfer.
Democrats also want to impose red flag laws that would allow courts to remove firearms from those who have been “flagged” by someone around them as a danger to themselves or others.
Representative Tony Lovasco of the Missouri House of Representatives succinctly expressed both the unconstitutionality and the danger of red flag laws:
Such laws often allow a judge to issue an order of confiscation “ex parte”, meaning without you [being] present.…
To make matters worse, Red Flag hearings can be adjudicated based on uncorroborated claims made by a single individual. Perhaps it’s an angry spouse, jealous co-worker, or disgruntled neighbor. All it takes is for someone to make a convincing argument that you are a danger to yourself or others, and your property is taken from you and you lose your right to defend yourself.
Additionally, Democrats are considering SB 64, which would criminalize “tactical training” and discourage “paramilitary activity” by strengthening penalties for individuals who engage in “training with, practicing with, or being instructed in the use of any firearm … for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder.”
The gun-rights group Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has provided a model resolution for gun-sanctuary jurisdictions that cites constitutional provisions and Supreme Court decisions while condemning proposed gun-control legislation.
“Certain legislation that has or may be introduced in the Virginia General Assembly, and certain legislation which has or may be introduced in the United States Congress could have the effect of infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 13 of the Constitution of Virginia.”
In Tazewell County, military veterans, law-enforcement officers, and patriotic Americans are joining together to form a militia as a way of exercising their Second Amendment-protected rights, given that the amendment’s text makes reference to a “well-regulated militia.”
Northam, however, says he is unphased by the opposition.
“I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of,” he said, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
Virginia isn’t the only Second Amendment battleground.
Quay County in New Mexico became a Second Amendment sanctuary in February over legislation requiring background checks for gun sales between private individuals.
Localities in other states, including Florida, California, and Washington, have passed similar gun-sanctuary resolutions.
VCDL President Phillip Van Cleave said Democrats have awakened a “sleeping giant” and “declared war on Virginia’s gun owners.”
Image: Olga Mendenhall via iStock / Getty Images Plus
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.