The Associated Press ran a big feature on Virginia’s Second Amendment Sanctuary movement over the weekend that focused on the recent vote in favor of a resolution in Buckingham County, Virginia. I’m quite familiar with that vote, given that I live in Buckingham County and was at the supervisors meeting attended by AP reporter Denise Lavoie and photographer Steve Helber. While the story itself is mostly fine, other media outlets across the country have used the story as an opportunity to editorialize against the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement in their local headlines.
The Columbian, for example, gave the AP story this bizarre headline: Group aims to defy new gun laws, wants Second Amendment sanctuaries.
What “group” would that be, exactly? The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement isn’t the brainchild of any Second Amendment group or organization. It’s a grassroots local response to the threat of unconstitutional gun control laws coming out of the state capitol in Richmond.
The website Indian Country Today ran with an even more hyperbolic headline: The ‘John Wayne syndrome’ plays out in Virginia debate about gun rights. That quote about John Wayne came from one of the handful of Buckingham County residents who opposed a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution at the supervisors meeting on December 9.
At the Buckingham County meeting, local resident Marie Flowers was one of the few who opposed the sanctuary proposal. Flowers said she believes the NRA has sold the “”John Wayne syndrome” to gun rights activists.
“Nobody’s freedom is being taken away except for these people who are being murdered,” she said.
Lots of Buckingham County residents disagree with Flowers, including Buckingham County Sheriff William Kidd, who recently joined me on “Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co.” to talk about his support for the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement and his opposition to any gun ban, red flag law, or other piece of legislation that would infringe on the rights of Virginians to keep and bear arms.
As I said, I thought the piece by the Associated Press was pretty good for the most part. The only real issue I have is this passage dealing with SB 16, the proposed gun ban that’s been introduced in the state Senate.
One proposal by incoming Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw has enflamed gun rights advocates and helped fuel the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement. The bill, as initially proposed, would make it a felony to sell, manufacture, purchase or possess assault weapons and certain magazines. Saslaw has since said that allowing current owners to keep their weapons “makes sense,” and he expects to amend the bill. Many see Saslaw’s bill as the first step that will end with their guns being taken away.
“We have the right to defend our households and we have the right to defend ourselves — period,” said Jake Eubanks, 35, of Buckingham County, about 75 miles west of Richmond, where officials approved a sanctuary resolution earlier this month.
Darrell Miller, co-director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law, said the sanctuary movement is largely a phenomenon in rural communities, where people have grown up hunting and treasure their guns.
“For whatever reasons, people, especially in these communities, have a deep-seated fear that universal firearm confiscation is just around the corner,” Miller said.
For whatever reason? How about the fact that a bill has been introduced by the incoming Senate Majority Leader that would ban the continued possession of commonly owned rifles, shotguns, and pistols? Or are we supposed to pretend that everything’s fine because Senator Saslaw says he plans to amend the bill and insert a grandfather clause “allowing” gun owners to maintain possession as long as they register their guns with the state?
A lot of gun owners believe that gun confiscation is right around the corner because that’s what a large number of Democrats want. As the Washington Examiner‘s Paul Bedard recently reported, a new Zogby Analytics poll found nearly 40 percent of Democrats back the idea of confiscating firearms from Americans who haven’t committed any crime. No gun control group opposed Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s call for confiscation, and when lawmakers introduce legislation that turns legal gun owners into felons overnight, I think it’s fair to believe that is, in fact, what those lawmakers really want.
Lavoie is correct in noting that SB16 is causing a lot of consternation among Virginia’s gun owners, but it’s not the only bill that’s driving turnout at county supervisors meetings. Bills to ration gun purchases to one-per-month, universal background check language, criminalizing parents who allow their 17-year old to hunt or have access to a firearm for self-defense while home alone, red flag proposals, and more have all been brought up by citizens speaking out in support of their right to keep and bear arms.
Most of the Second Amendment Sanctuary votes have now taken place in Virginia, though Charles City County supervisors will vote on a resolution this evening. I’m hoping to make the two-hour drive from central Virginia to be there, and I expect that hundreds of others will be joining me to take a stand in support of their constitutional rights. None of us are infected with “John Wayne Syndrome.” Instead, we’ve caught the fever of fighting for our freedom and are turning out in record numbers to oppose Dr. Ralph Northam’s bad medicine and flawed prescription for public safety.