So far, 68 counties, 10 cities and nine towns in the commonwealth of Virginia have sent a message to newly elected state legislators taking office next month—along with a governor eager to sign gun-control measures into law—by declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. Legal scholars claim the resolutions are symbolic, although Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins has pledged added safeguard for his constituents, according to Fox News. “In addition, if necessary,” he posted on Facebook in early December, “I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms.”
Nearly 72 percent of Virginia’s land is currently a Second Amendment sanctuary or, as the language adopted by Culpeper County indicates, a Second Amendment Constitutional County. That covers 72 percent of the counties in the commonwealth and the acreage is growing daily, along with the number of local politicians responding to voter concerns.
The uproar hasn’t escaped the notice of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. His spokesperson, Alena Yarmosky, claimed in an official statement on Dec. 8 that his latest gun-control measure—already on the state assembly’s January schedule—is more digestible than his failed attempt last summer. “In this case, the governor’s assault weapons ban will include a grandfather clause for individuals who already own assault weapons, with the requirement they register their weapons before the end of a designated grace period,” she wrote, according to the Virginia Mercury. “Additional details on this and all other bills will be announced prior to the start of the upcoming session.”
State Assembly Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw’s early draft of another proposed piece of legislation, SB 16, would make “… importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm … .” a felony. As for the impact to law enforcement in either case, Sheriff Jenkins summarizes in his Facebook post that, “Every Sheriff and Commonwealth Attorney in Virginia will see the consequences if our General Assembly passes further unnecessary gun restrictions.”
NRA-ILA has issued a statement about Second Amendment sanctuaries, that explains, “Liberty is reliant upon the participation of free people, and this includes the vast number of citizens and communities who are lawfully exercising their rights under the First Amendment to defend their freedoms under the Second. It is the tyrannical nature of politicians that triggers sanctuary, not the other way around.”