Image of Wythe County Supervisors Meeting courtesy of Tonya Freeman
I’ve been called a lot of things by gun control advocates in my years of Second Amendment activism, but I think “mischief maker” is a first.
According to the editorial board of the Washington Post, the thousands of Virginians who’ve been packing county supervisors meetings across the state are either “mischief makers with an agenda” or are vigilantes who are “promoting chaos.”
The truth is, we’re neither. We’re ordinary average Americans who are taking time off from work, rearranging schedules, standing outside in the cold, or waiting patiently for our turn to speak to our local officials about the biggest threat to our right to keep and bear arms that we’ve ever faced at the state level. Apparently, to the Washington Post‘s editorial board, only opponents of Donald Trump are allowed to #resist.
Like gun control advocate Lori Haas, who recently attacked the state’s Second Amendment Sanctuary movement in an op/ed of her own, the Washington Post editorial board can’t decide if the movement in a threat to democracy or just empty rhetoric.
The idea – and the term itself – has gained traction in Western states and elsewhere, inspired by “sanctuary cities” that have adopted policies barring cooperation with federal immigration officials to deport unauthorized migrants.
The distinction between the two sanctuaries is basic. Localities that have passed resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuary jurisdictions are threatening to ignore laws passed by duly elected state legislatures and signed by governors.
Immigration-focused sanctuary localities are breaking no law; rather, they are refusing purely voluntary cooperation in service to federal law enforcement.
It’s funny, but I don’t remember similar hand-wringing when the mayor of Pittsburgh decided to sign gun control laws in violation of state firearms preemption law, or when San Francisco’s newly elected District Attorney vowed not to prosecute individuals for a number of crimes including prostitution. Somehow it’s different when it’s rural counties vowing not to spend any funds enforcing unconstitutional gun control laws.
The Washington Post also lies to its readers by claiming that anti-gun legislators in Virginia aren’t interested in large-scale gun confiscation.
The only cases in which gun confiscation could take place would be if the legislature enacts a “red flag” bill, which would allow law enforcement authorities to take away firearms from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others. Such laws, which have received bipartisan support in many states, generally depend on an order from a judge who would consider evidence brought in court.
Apparently the editorial board at the WaPo hasn’t seen the language of SB 16, a bill in Virginia introduced by the next Senate Majority Leader that bans the possession of any “assault firearm”, which is defined as basically any semi-automatic center-fire rifle, as well as many semi-automatic shotguns and virtually all AR-style pistols. As the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Larry Keane describes the bill:
The text of the proposed legislation goes further than the states with the strictest of gun control laws. If passed, Virginia’s lawmakers would instantly turn lawful owners of America’s most popular-selling centerfire rifle into instant felons, unless they dispossess themselves of their legally purchased modern sporting rifle. There are way more than 16 million modern sporting rifles in private ownership in America. While the exact number of these popular rifles in Virginia isn’t known as state-specific estimates don’t exist, it’s important to note there is no proposed grandfather clause to exempt the likely several hundreds of thousands of rifles already in legal possession or even to register them.
It’s true that there’s no mass confiscation as part of this bill, but is the Washington Post seriously suggesting that banning the continued possession of hundreds of thousands of legally owned firearms does not amount to confiscation? If Virginians are supposed to comply with that proposed law, they’d be forced to give up their guns to the State, or at least remove their firearms from within the state of Virginia.
The Post also doesn’t tell the full story when it comes to “red flag” laws. The paper neglects to mention that the evidence is only presented by one side during an ex parte hearing, and individuals can and will have their firearms seized before they ever have a chance to present their case.
You’d think if these laws were so “commonsense” the Washington Post editorial board wouldn’t have to omit so many pertinent facts in order to drum up support for the bills.
After all that nonsense, the Post concludes its editorial by claiming that these Second Amendment Sanctuaries are really just symbolic measures, which begs the question; why do they seem so worried about something that supposedly doesn’t matter?
Nobody really knows how this is going to play out, though I suspect that in many counties, the local sheriff will decide that enforcement of any new gun control laws is simply not going to be a priority for their office. Despite all of the protests to the contrary, Virginia’s sheriffs have the discretion to enforce the laws to the best of their ability, and if they decide that means they’re going to focus their resources on violent criminals instead of law-abiding gun owners, is the state’s Attorney General really going to go after these law enforcement officers for dereliction of duty?
Gun control advocates are starting to not-so-quietly freak out over the resistance to restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms that we’re seeing at the grassroots level, and they’ll have more chances to wring their hands and clutch their pearls on Monday, when at least two more counties in Virginia are expected to approve Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions of their own.