Edwards: My Second Amendment Sanctuary Testimony

Monday evening my county will (hopefully) be voting on a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution and I’ll be in attendance. In fact, I’m planning on getting to the county administration building a good hour before the meeting begins in order to sign up to speak and to get a seat. Unfortunately, it’s been pouring rain here today, so I’m a little concerned about the miserable weather keeping people home, but I’m hoping for a good turnout.

I’ll have a full report afterwards, but I figured I’d share with you what I’ve prepared to say at tonight’s meeting. Obviously there are many more points I’d love to bring up, but when you’re limited to three minutes there’s only so much you can say.

I moved here almost seven years ago, after living in the DC suburbs for nearly a decade. By the time I left Fairfax County, I was miserable from the northern Virginia traffic, the high cost of living, and the increasingly repressive politics. 

Buckingham County was a breath of fresh air with maybe just a whiff of gunpowder mixed in. This isn’t just where I live, it’s home. I love the fact that on any given weekend I can hear two or three of my neighbors engaging in target practice on their property, just like I am on mine. 

But this way of life, and the constitutionally protected rights that make it possible, are going to be under direct assault in Richmond starting in January. There are a number of bills already pre-filed that would violate our rights as Virginians and Americans, including SB 16, which bans the possession of legally owned semi-automatic long guns and some pistols, SB 22, which would criminalize the common transfers of firearms between family and friends here in Buckingham, as well as making it a crime for any parent to allow their 17-year old to hunt by themselves, or even have access to a firearm for self-defense. 

I know the board may not want to pass a resolution opposing something that hasn’t happened yet, but now is the time to send a message to the lawmakers in Richmond that our right to keep and bear arms will be acknowledged and protected here in Buckingham County. 

Back in the spring of 1776, a few months before the Declaration of Independence was even drafted, county officials in Buckingham passed a resolution directing their delegates to the fifth Virginia convention to support a separation from Great Britain. We, assembled here tonight, are not asking you to take nearly as momentous a step, but we are asking you to join the many counties that have and will declare that they will use every tool at their disposal to protect and secure the individual rights of its residents from infringements on the part of the State. 

I’ve heard gun control activists try to compare the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement to Massive Resistance, the movement in the 1950’s and early 60’s here in Virginia to keep schools segregated. It is a sign of their desperation that they would make such an odious comparison, and nothing could be further from the truth. 

Just as Buckingham County peacefully integrated following the Brown v. Board of Education decision, today’s residents are not interested in trying to deprive people of their rights, but to ensure their free exercise. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his letter from a Birmingham jail cell, “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Is a law just if it can bar people from owning the most commonly sold rifle in the country today, and ban the continued possession of their lawfully acquired firearms?

Is a law just if it can criminalize a parent who allows their 17-year old daughter access to a firearm while she’s home alone in a remote part of Buckingham County? 

Is a law just if it requires our sheriff and the deputies of this county to seize firearms under a court order, even though the individual subjected to that order hasn’t been given their day in court, or even accused of a crime?

Is a law just if someone declared a danger to themselves or others is “treated” by taking their guns away, but leaving their knives, car keys, gasoline, and matches? 

Is a law just if it turns a right into a privilege? 

I say no, and I urge to you to pass this Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution and take a stand against the unjust laws that are headed our way.