In response to promised anti-gun bills muscled through by an all-Democrat state government next year, Virginia is center stage for grassroots 2A activism.
Although the Commonwealth is on its second Democrat governor who has pushed an agenda of gun control legislation, such moves have been repeatedly stymied in the past by Republicans in the state Senate. However, a push that included millions from gun control godfather Michael Bloomberg last month shifted polarity and Dems gained a slight majority in the General Assembly. This led to immediate promises of gun control when the 2020 session begins next month with over a dozen such bills– to include bans on popular semi-autos, gun rationing, and increased red tape– already pre-filed.
As a result, state pro-gun groups such as the Virginia Citizens Defense League have spearheaded efforts to establish Second Amendment Sanctuaries in counties and cities across the Commonwealth. The VCDL reports that more than 80 communities have adopted such resolutions in the past several weeks, many by unanimous votes. The resolutions would bar local resources to enforce gun control measures seen as a violation of the right to keep and bear arms. One sheriff even promised to “deputize thousands” of otherwise law-abiding citizens to preserve their gun rights if need be.
The successful effort has already apparently caused some lawmakers to water down their anti-gun proposals for next year.
Nonetheless, Gov. Ralph Northam is shrugging off the bloom of sanctuaries across the state, even going so far as telling reporters that, “If we have constitutional laws on the books and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be consequences, but I’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.”
Meanwhile, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has promised the sanctuary efforts will have “absolutely no legal effect whatsoever” on new gun control laws should they be passed by the all-blue state government.
U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, a Republican Congressman for Virginia’s 5th District, applauded those in his home state for considering and passing Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions.
He has also addressed the House on the matter saying, “I represent the same district that James Madison represented in the First Congress. He understood Americans’ rights to bear arms when he wrote it into our Constitution. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and I am proud to stand with the people that are speaking up for their Constitutional rights and for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The 2020 Virginia General Assembly session begins on Jan. 8, 2020.