Two more counties joined the ranks of Second Amendment Sanctuaries in Virginia Monday night, bringing the total number of sanctuary communities to 95 with more votes to come on Tuesday.
According to the Roanoke Times, almost 800 residents of Pulaski County in southwest Virginia packed the county supervisors meeting, which was moved to the local gymnasium to accommodate the crowd of Second Amendment supporters in attendance.
Board Chairman Andy McCready essentially guaranteed the passage of a pro-Second Amendment resolution during that meeting, stating the board just wanted to hear from constituents before drafting a document unique to Pulaski.
Supervisor Joe Guthrie reinforced that point again Monday night.
“This is truly a Pulaski County resolution … it’s a grassroots effort from the citizens,” he said.
Guthrie said the resolution — drafted by County Administrator Jonathan Sweet — was nearly perfect, save for the use of “supportive” over “sanctuary” in the initial draft. Sweet said he chose his wording carefully as to not lull citizens into a false sense of security.
He said the resolution was mostly symbolic, but clauses like the county promising not to allocate county funds to help in the prosecution of gun laws it deems unconstitutional, gave the resolution some teeth. Additionally, the supervisors encouraged constitutional officers to follow its lead in resisting “unconstitutional” gun laws.
I appreciate the thought that the supervisors and the county administrator put into their resolution, and I’m pleased that supervisors ultimately voted unanimously to replace the “supportive” language with the word “sanctuary” instead. It’s also a positive sign that the county supervisors encouraged the county sheriff and commonwealth’s attorney to use their power and discretion to not enforce any unconstitutional gun control laws approved by Governor Ralph Northam.
Montgomery County supervisors also approved Second Amendment Sanctuary language Monday evening in a 4-3 vote. The southwestern Virginia county is home to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and typically colleges and universities can have an outsized influence on local politics, so there was some concern that anti-gun advocates would be able to prevent or defeat the resolution. Instead, around 600 people, mostly Second Amendment supporters, crowded in to the meeting room for Monday night’s successful vote.
Unfortunately, city council members in Roanoke, Virginia rejected a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution on Monday night, making it the second time in recent weeks that city council members have refused to stand in support for the right to keep and bear arms.
Many of the speakers expressed frustration with council’s unwillingness to do what so many other local governments have in the last few months.
“Mental health care, not gun control needs to be the focus of Roanoke and Virginia,” said one speaker. Others called on the council to remember their oaths of office. One man warned of a coming civil war.
Bill Bestpitch was the only member of council to respond to the crowd. “We already have what you’re asking for,” he said. “The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land. We all agree on that.”
During his speech, he was frequently interrupted by shouts and jeers from the crowd.
It sounds like it was a raucous crowd in Roanoke, with some attendees accusing the council members of treason for not supporting the resolution.
There are a number of counties and towns that will be voting on their own resolutions Tuesday, including Prince Edward County, where I’ll be this evening. The meeting of the board of supervisors, like many others, has been moved to a local school in expectation of a huge crowd, but the gun owners that I’ve talked to say they’re worried that the board may not support the resolution. We’ll have a full report here on Bearing Arms after the vote is cast, but I’m optimistic that by the time dawn breaks over the state of Virginia Wednesday morning, we’ll have more than 100 Second Amendment Sanctuaries saturating the state.