'Second Amendment sanctuaries' have exploded in Virginia

By Sean Galvin

December 17, 2019

The state’s attorney general says its symbolic, but that hasn’t stopped conservative counties from continuing to pass anti-gun safety resolutions.

The number of local and county governments in Virginia declaring themselves as “Second Amendment sanctuaries” has increased exponentially, increasing from five to at least 71 in the past month.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring told CBS 6 news that these efforts were largely symbolic.

“When Virginia passes these gun safety laws that they will be followed, they will be enforced,” Herring said. His office also said they expect all state laws to be followed by localities.

“It’s not clear … what authority they think they have to preemptively opt-out of gun safety laws,” Charlotte Gomer, Herring’s press secretary, told USA Today.

Whether or not the resolutions mean anything, however, the movement has garnered plenty of public attention. City halls and county board meetings have been packed to the brim with hundreds of supporters of the designations. The Pulaski County board supervisors was one of the latest localities to approve a “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolution. Montgomery County, meanwhile, stopped short declare themselves a sanctuary but did pass a resolution voicing support for the Second Amendment.

For his part, Gov. Ralph Northam has avoided using inflammatory language. At a press conference, Northam indicated that while there would be “consequences” if localities choose not to follow any new state laws. He was careful, however, to say that there would be any “retribution.” The Governor also took steps recently to assuage some of the gun-owners fears, saying that a pending assault weapon ban will include a provision allowing Virginians to keep firearms already in their possession.

That hasn’t stopped some officials and “gun-rights” activists from pursuing their “sanctuaries.” Yesterday, Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins appeared on Fox News and said he would “deputize” his residents, a move aimed at letting them avoid any new gun safety measures passed by the General Assembly. 

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