SECOND AMENDMENT SANCTUARIES EMERGE TO COUNTER GUN GRAB LEGISLATION
Virginia, where patriot forefathers forever booted a tyrannical British king off soil that would become the United States of America, isn’t the first state to see a bow wave of support for Second Amendment rights, but it certainly has developed one of the highest profiles. The commonwealth’s new Democratic majority in both the House of Delegates and the Senate, burnished by like-minded leadership in the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, began steamrolling gun control legislation through during the early days of the 2020 General Assembly session.
The legislation largely mirrored that proposed by Governor Ralph Northam immediately following the May 2019 mass shooting in Virginia Beach. There, a disgruntled city employee killed 12 people and wounded four others with a handgun at a municipal building where employees were required to be disarmed.
Red to Blue
Northam asserted blood priority, calling for a July 9 General Assembly special session to entertain legislation he argued was key to deterring gun violence. The Republican-controlled assembly met and quickly dismissed the legislation.
Some analysts viewed the special session as a political setup, forcing fodder votes to energize the anti-gun base and get a massive influx of campaign funding for Democratic Party candidates in the November elections. This money and intense campaigning by Democrats, coupled with Republican lethargy in terms of both running candidates in several uncontested districts and turning out to vote, flipped the House and Senate from red to blue.
As a bevy of bills were pre-filed before the January legislative start, the agenda looked clear: We’re coming after your guns.
Gun rights supporters mobilized. Localities, including counties and independent cities and towns, began holding hearings and votes related to whether or not they should pass resolutions declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” These resolutions frequently declare that the local governing body opposes, within limits of the Constitutions of the United States and the state where they reside, any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict Second Amendment Rights. They usually state they will not dedicate any local resources toward enforcing new state laws considered unconstitutional.
Within two months, as maps tracking the Second Amendment Sanctuary march were colored in by locality, it was apparent where conservative values held sway and where liberal bastions were dug in. Ninety-one of the commonwealth’s 95 counties, as well as many of the independent cities and towns, were aligned with the Second Amendment camp by January 31. Even the City of Virginia Beach, scene of 2019 mass shooting, voted for a Second Amendment-supportive resolution.