Virginia Paper Bashes County Supervisors For 2A Sanctuary Vote

Now that the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement has spread to more than twenty counties, with at least a dozen more expected to vote on resolutions this week, we’re starting to see the anti-gun advocates push back on the idea, from the editorial board of the Washington Post to Virginia gun control activist Lori Haas, who all claim that the resolutions are toothless, yet seem really concerned by the movement at the same time.

Add the editors of the Martinsville Bulletin to the few voices rising in opposition to the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions. County supervisors in Henry County, where Martinsville is located, unanimously approved the resolution last week. The paper’s editors claim that this was done without public awareness, despite a huge crowd that numbered in the hundreds for the supervisors working meeting that took place in the afternoon.

The idea for this ordinance was introduced by Blackberry resident Josh Barnhart, who brought along a few dozen of his friends to create an appearance of overwhelming public support for this measure.

Barnhart had been listed on the agenda as “Matters Presented by the Public,” but you had to go down 15 pages into the agenda packet (which the public typically wouldn’t see) to note that Barnhart would address the Second Amendment.

This is where the Bulletin should take a bullet. We should have noticed this language and started asking questions. We were aware of what had happened in Patrick and Pittsylvania counties. We should have told you. In this case, we failed. Maybe because we didn’t think the supervisors would go off half-cocked on such an important topic.

But they did, and they failed you, too.

The editors got it half right. If they truly had no idea that this issue was going to come up at their county supervisors meeting, they absolutely failed as journalists. In fact, check out the photo and caption from the newspaper’s coverage of the supervisor’s meeting itself, which took place a few hours after the well-attended working meeting. Does this look like the doings of one guy who brought along a few friends, as the editors claim?

Not only did hundreds of Second Amendment supporters turn out for the meeting, gun control activist Andy Parker and his wife knew to show up to the meeting to oppose the measure. It sounds like almost everybody in Henry County knew what was going to happen, except for the editors at the local paper.

I’d be embarrassed too, but that doesn’t mean the supervisors in Henry County somehow put the Second Amendment over the First Amendment, as the editors claim.

So on two days before Thanksgiving, when the public’s attention so obviously would be averted or diluted – when many legislative bodies in fact would not have bothered to meet — and with no easily observed public notice, the supervisors moved.

They followed their rules closely. They barely discussed the issue. They did not hold a public hearing. They did not care that there were residents in the room who might have dissented.

The motion was called, and all six agreed.

They stood up for the Second Amendment but not for the First.

We will leave the adjectives to describe this action to you, but we will offer this:

In a time when politicians so seldom take aim at doing right ahead of serving self, the Henry County Board of Supervisors has injured its image with a very much self-inflicted wound.

Is the paper really arguing that because public comment wasn’t heard before the vote, the First Amendment was violated? After all, Barbara Parker wasn’t silenced. She spoke to the board in opposition after the supervisors unanimously approved the resolution.

After Chair Jim Adams opened the floor to public comments, Barbara Parker was the first to approach the podium. “I had hoped to address the board before the vote,” she said, but went on to make her remarks in order to go on the record with her views.

She described her daughter’s death on Aug. 26, 2015, at the hands of an “angry, disturbed man,” an act that could have been prevented if there had been “red-flag laws” in place. “Alison’s killer could have had his guns taken away while he was evaluated. The people who worked at WDBJ [in Roanoke] were afraid of him, but nothing could be done in spite of his threats,” she said.

“To declare Henry County a Second Amendment sanctuary is to say, ‘Sorry for your loss, but freedom for anyone to have access to guns without any restriction is more important than your child’s life,’” Barbara Parker said. “I’ve been here 22 years, and for the first time, I feel like it’s not my home anymore.”

After Parker’s remarks, about a dozen other citizens made public comments thanking the board for approving the resolution and making arguments against gun control. One woman praised the board’s “courage” in standing up for gun rights.

The reporting by the Martinsville Bulletin‘s Kim Barto Meeks on the supervisor’s meeting was good local journalism. The paper’s editorial chastising the county supervisors for their vote, however, isn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

As for the busy week ahead for the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement, I’ll be talking with Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League on Monday’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. about the tidal wave of resolutions expected to pass this week.

I’m also planning on attending the Louisa County supervisor’s meeting on Monday evening, and I’ll have an on-the-ground report for our VIP members later that evening or early Tuesday morning. Your support allows for first-hand reporting from the front lines of freedom, and I want to thank every one of you who’ve signed up.