At least three rural Virginia counties have passed resolutions declaring themselves “second amendment sanctuary counties,” and are expressing their intent to not use county funds to enforce some of the gun control policies being considered by state government. Other rural counties are considering similar declarations.
The boards of Pittsylvania County, Appomattox County and Campbell County have passed similar resolutions. Others, including Franklin County and Amherst County, are considering enacting similar resolutions; residents in both counties showed up to a county council meeting in droves to express their support for the resolution.
The resolutions state that the counties intend that “public funds of the County not be used to restrict Second Amendment rights or to aid in the unnecessary and unconstitutional restriction of the rights under the Second Amendment.”
The resolutions state that the boards intend to oppose restrictions on the Second Amendment through legal means, including possibly court action.
Although the resolutions do not state the specific policies that they intend not to enforce, they do cite the proposals currently being considered in the state legislature as concerns.
Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed several gun control measures, including a ban on assault weapons, silencers and high capacity magazines, red-flag laws that would let a judge order the removal of weapons from someone’s house if he or she is deemed to be a threat to himself or others, and mandatory background checks on private sales.
Legislative Republicans prevented Northam’s proposals from receiving a vote, but Democrats gained control of both chambers in the November election, which could give Northam the votes he needs. Democratic leaders in both chambers have said that changes to Virginia’s gun laws are a top priority.