Amelia County Supervisors "Clarify" Second Amendment Resolution

The Amelia County Board of Supervisors has issued a statement “clarifying” their vote on a Second Amendment Support Resolution after a Bearing Arms story on Thursday criticized the language in the resolution approved by supervisors, as well as the process used by supervisors at a meeting attend by hundreds of county residents.

Here’s a copy of the statement released by the county on Friday.

Honestly, if any of the supervisors had said anything like this before Wednesday’s vote, it would have cleared up a lot of confusion and controversy. Unfortunately, supervisors chose to vote on a resolution that most of the audience had never seen and couldn’t hear when it was read to the crowd, and they did so without explaining their thought process. Here’s the resolution that they unanimously approved.

I want to be fair here, so let me say that I don’t believe that the Amelia County Board of Supervisors are a bunch of gun-grabbing tools of Ralph Northam. I think a majority of the board truly does want to stand up for the Second Amendment rights of residents. As I’ve talked with gun owners in the county over the past few days, I’ve heard several talk about the dynamics on the board, and they’ve told me that realistically, this was the probably the strongest language that was going to get approved, at least unanimously.

Having said that, virtually every gun owner in Amelia that I’ve spoken with say they wish the language was stronger, and they don’t feel it adequately represents where the citizens of the county stand. In the statement released Friday, the supervisors say that they didn’t want to include “sanctuary” language because they believe the resolution is stronger without it, but there’s also no language about the county not spending any money to enforce any laws that would infringe on the rights of residents, which is common to Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions. I don’t believe the resolution as passed is everything gun owners in Amelia County were asking for, but it’s a good start.

I also still have my issues with how the resolution was presented to those in attendance on Wednesday evening, but I’m not a resident of Amelia County, so the board of supervisors really don’t have to care about my opinion. If residents share my concerns, I imagine supervisors will hear about it during public comment at their next meeting, and if the supervisors are interested in my opinion, I’d just tell them to be as transparent as possible. The hundreds of people who showed up to the supervisors meetings over the past couple of months want to support you. They want to back you. But they need you to back them up too, and to be as open and honest with them as you can be, even if it makes you uncomfortable or you worry about what their reaction might be.

Most importantly, you can’t go back and undo what’s been done, but you can build on it. Gun owners and Second Amendment supporters in Amelia should be applauded for the work that they’ve done in driving this movement forward, and they should see Wednesday evening’s vote as just the beginning of the efforts in their county to secure and safeguard the Second Amendment rights of residents. A new board will be seated in January, and that provides new opportunities to work with supervisors on additional measures and language pushing back against the gun control laws that Attorney General Mark Herring says must be enforced.

I was in Amelia County back in November when hundreds of residents showed up at the county courthouse to call for a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution, and I was stunned by what I saw. In fact, Amelia County was my first real experience with the movement here in Virginia.

… when I learned that Amelia County supervisors were holding their meeting on Wednesday evening, I decided to make the easy drive from where I live outside of Farmville to see for myself if there’d be anybody in attendance speaking in support of a resolution. Keep in mind, no vote was being taken because no resolution had been introduced at that point, but I was pretty sure there’d be a few folks in attendance asking supervisors to declare the county a sanctuary for the right to keep and bear arms in the face of the dozens of gun control bills that are already being filed in Richmond.

The first inkling I had that more than a few folks had shown up came on my drive into town. Amelia Courthouse, which is the county seat, is a pretty sleepy little town where the businesses on the courthouse square shut down at 5 p.m. Yet as I approached the small downtown area, I noticed that cars were parked all along the street. When I actually was able to see the courthouse, I was stunned to see hundreds of residents of Amelia County gathered outside the courthouse where the supervisors meeting was already taking place.

When I went to the Amelia County supervisors meeting this past Wednesday, I was looking forward to seeing the culmination of a citizen-led movement that began that cold night in November. Instead, what I saw was another chapter of that movement begin to take shape.

Even in counties that have adopted Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions, our work is just beginning. We have to continue to engage our supervisors, but more importantly our county sheriffs and local prosecutors, because they’re the ones who will be charged with enforcing any new gun control laws. Amelia County Sheriff Ricky Walker has already said he won’t enforce any unconstitutional gun laws, and that means more than any Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution that Amelia County supervisors could have passed.

“My oath of office is to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” Amelia Sheriff Ricky L. Walker said Wednesday night as he waited for the supervisors to meet in this rural county west of Richmond.

If a judge ordered him to seize someone’s guns under a law he viewed as unconstitutional, Walker said, he wouldn’t do it. “That’s what I hang my hat on,” he said.

Amelia County residents may not have an official Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution that they can point to, but they have a sheriff who says he’s willing to protect the constitutional rights of residents, even if that means defying a court order. This is only the beginning of a long fight, and they stay engaged and involved, the Second Amendment supporters in Amelia will continue to be an instrumental part of the statewide effort to stand up in defense of our rights.