We’ve all heard about sanctuary cities – cites where laws tend to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation or prosecution, despite federal immigration law.
There are dozens of such self-proclaimed sanctuary cities across the U.S., along with others that are operated as sanctuary cities, but have not adopted an official sanctuary declaration.
There are also sanctuary counties and even a few sanctuary states. Among the counties are Virginia’s Arlington and Chesterfield.
Recently several counties in Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Wisconsin have become sanctuary counties as well – but not over immigration. They have become “2nd Amendment Sanctuaries.”
Monday night the 2nd Amendment Sanctuary effort reportedly will come to Pulaski County.
The Patriot has been notified by at least two individuals that they will appear at Monday night’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors to ask the board to consider voting to declare the county a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary county.
Board Chairman Andy McCready said Thursday that time is allotted near the end of each monthly meeting of the board for public comments concerning issues that are not on that meeting’s agenda.
“We anticipate hearing Monday night from a number of supporters of the 2nd Amendment Sanctuary declaration,” McCready said. “I myself have seen about 10 different versions of such a resolution, and we want to make sure the one we take a look at is right and appropriate. You would think something as simple as a Constitutionally guaranteed right would not need such legislation, but unfortunately in this day and time, it does.”
McCready, a National Rifle Association life member himself, said the board will receive comments this Monday and will consider them along with some thoughts that individual board members have had.
“Then the plan would be to come back at our December meeting and discuss and possibly vote on the issue at that time,” McCready said.
“If people are interested in this topic and feel strongly about it, I encourage them to come on down Monday night. Staff right now is reviewing places where an overflow crowd could be seated, depending on how many people show up,” McCready added.
Just this past Monday, according to a report in the Washington Examiner, the Appomattox County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution declaring that county a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary.
“The current governor of Virginia has stated that he intends to endorse and pass into law legislation that is unconstitutional as it pertains to the rights enumerated in the U.S. and Virginia Constitution,” the resolution passed in Appomattox states, according to the Examiner.
“The Appomattox County Board of Supervisors is concerned about the passage of any bill containing language which could be interpreted as infringing the rights of the citizens of Appomattox County to keep and bear arms or could begin a slippery slope of restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Appomattox County,” the resolution continued.
According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, the resolution in Appomattox, though not legally binding, does convey the county’s “intent that public funds of the County not be used to restrict Second Amendment rights” and their intention “to oppose unconstitutional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms through such legal means as may be expedient, including without limitation, court action.”
Other counties in Virginia that have passed resolutions include Carroll, Charlotte, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Dinwiddie and Grayson, and such resolutions are pending in other counties. Thursday night, the Giles County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve a sanctuary proposal there.
So, what has brought all this to Pulaski County?
A recent report by the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot newspaper notes a sense of urgency has washed over Virginia gun rights activists as Gov. Ralph Northam promised to pass “common sense gun safety legislation” with the help of the new Democratic majority in the legislature that was elected on Nov. 5.
The newspaper reported that Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told members of his organization that “Northam has declared war on Virginia’s gun owners.”
According to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and reporter Marie Albiges, Northam has proposed several bills that have been killed in previous years by a GOP-held General Assembly. Now, with Democrats in the majority, he’ll likely succeed in passing these eight bills:
- Requiring background checks on all gun sales and transactions:The bill would mandate anyone who sells, rents, trades or transfers a firearm must do a background check on the receiver of the gun before the sale or transfer is complete. As it stands, gun shops and federally licensed dealers selling at gun shows must perform such checks, but sales that take between two citizens — at a gun show or elsewhere — are exempt.
- Banning “dangerous” weapons and accessories: That includes what gun control advocates call assault weapons, along with high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers, like the one used in the Virginia Beach mass shooting. Northam hasn’t defined what “dangerous” or “assault” weapons he wants to ban.
- Limiting handgun sales to one a month: A similar law was on the books from 1993 to 2012. Buying more than one handgun in 30 days would come with up to a 12-month jail sentence and a maximum fine of $2,500. Those wanting to buy more than one in a month would have to apply for it through the State Police and undergo an enhanced background check.
- Requiring lost or stolen firearms to be reported to police within 24 hours: The punishment for not reporting, according to Jennifer McClellan’s bill, would be up to a $250 fine.
- Allowing Extreme Risk Protection Orders (“red flag” law): The bill would allow law enforcement and the courts to temporarily take someone’s firearms if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Several states have passed varying versions of red flag laws.
- Barring people under final protective orders from having guns: Right now, the law only says people who are under final protective orders of family abuse cannot have firearms.
- Making it illegal to “recklessly” leave loaded, unsecured firearms around children under 18: The bill would raise the age from 14 to 18 and raise the punishment from a Class 3 misdemeanor, which comes with a $500 maximum fine, to a Class 6 felony, which comes with a punishment of 1-5 years in jail and a maxim $2,500 fine, for adults who “recklessly” allow kids to be around loaded, unsecured gunsin such a way that might endanger the child’s life.
- Letting localities regulate whether guns are allowed in government buildings: Virginia has a law that says cities and counties can’t make their own rules when it comes to allowing guns in government buildings. One Republican lawmaker filed a bill this year that would allow localities to ban firearms if they had security provisionsin place, such as security guards or metal detectors. Del. Cia Price, D-Newport News, filed a bill that says localities may regulate guns.
Gun rights is but one of the legislative areas Democratic leaders in Virginia promise action on when the legislature opens in January. Others include a higher minimum wage, greater abortion rights, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, repealing the state’s Right to Work law and others.
Monday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the County Administration Building on Third Street, N.W. in Pulaski.
By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot