Anti-gun politicians and gun control activists are busily crafting a narrative that Monday’s Lobby Day rally at the state capitol is going to be a disaster of epic proportions; a rampaging mob of militia members, white supremacists, and “gun extremists” intent on starting the Second Civil War or at least another Charlottesville.
Moms Demand Action, for example, issued a “fact sheet” that’s short on actual facts but long on attacks on those attending the Lobby Day activities. In it, the gun control groups claims that gun owners are hoping to intimidate lawmakers when in fact we’re just hoping they’ll listen to what we have to say.
The group also refuses to call Second Amendment Sanctuaries by their name, referring to them instead as “Lawless Counties.”
Lawless County resolutions hold no legal weight, undermine law enforcement, and create a dangerous environment for people who may hurt themselves or others: Policy experts, state attorneys general, and law enforcement alike agree: Lawless County resolutions, or as gun extremists call them, ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ resolutions, which threaten that officials will disregard their duty to enforce duly enacted and constitutional laws, have no legal force. The resolutions also threaten the safety of communities nationwide by fostering distrust in law enforcement and may deter people from reporting individuals that may hurt themselves or others.
While it’s true that resolutions don’t have legal force, no one’s ever claimed they did. In fact, the resolutions (in most cases) simply express the intent of county supervisors not to spend any public money to enforce unconstitutional gun control laws. The real weight of the movement will come from commonwealth’s attorneys and county sheriffs who use their discretion to not enforce unconstitutional gun laws. And yes, even in Virginia, law enforcement has the discretion to not enforce laws, even those that are clearly constitutional.
Moms Demand Action then tries to claim that the streets of Richmond are going to be filled with angry white supremacists hoping to spark a civil war.
In the wake of Charlottesville, where “a day of volatile street-fighting ended with a white supremacist plowing a car into a crowd of counter-protesters,” Virginia officials, legal experts, civil rights leaders, and leading editorial boards are worried that January 20th will turn into another violent, hate-fueled disaster. According to Alex Friedfeld, a researcher at the Anti-Defamation League, “White supremacist ‘accelerationists’ have seized on the standoff [over gun safety laws in Virginia] as the potential beginning of a civil war that will destroy the United States and allow them to build a white nation in its ruins.” Governor Northam has already held multiple meetings to prepare for legions of heavily armed, out-of-state protestors descending on the Capitol. As Mary McCord, the legal director of Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, put it – these resolutions have “spurred extremists who want to stand up local militias to engage in armed rebellion against the state — action that isn’t just dangerous but that also runs counter to the Constitution.”
Governor Northam himself claims that there have been credible, though unspecified threats that require him to ban guns from the capitol grounds, though a spokesperson for the Capitol Police told USA Today that there’s no resemblance between Lobby Day and what happened in Charlottesville in August of 2018.
Macenka said Capitol Police have not heard much from out-of-state groups but dismissed the comparison between the lobby day and Charlottesville attack. “Charlottesville didn’t seem to have any purpose. People seemed to come together bent on committing violence,” Macenka said. “There is some very serious legislation at issue here.”
Indeed. Now, having said that, are there folks making noise about coming to Lobby Day for their own purposes or to grab a bit of the media’s attention? Absolutely, and to be honest, I hate it.
I’ve watched the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement explode across the state of Virginia over the past two months, and I know that the tens of thousands of people who’ve peacefully turned out for their local supervisors meetings aren’t going to suddenly turn into a rampaging mob when they show up at the state capitol on Monday. I know that these folks who have spoken so powerfully and passionately about why they’re opposed to Ralph Northam’s gun control agenda aren’t taking time off of work and arranging childcare so they can go be on TV or engage in attention-grabbing stunts or up their Instagram followers.
Because of the national attention that Lobby Day is receiving, it’s drawing in outside actors like a moth to a flame. I believe most of them are coming to Virginia with the right mindset and good intentions. Others, on the other hand, may indeed be trying to stir up trouble or at least draw attention to themselves and detract from the message that the tens of thousands of Virginia gun owners are hoping to send.
There’s not much we can do about it, unfortunately, other than outnumber those grifters and possibly even agent provocateurs who might be on hand to try and derail Lobby Day. I’m confident we’ll be able to do so, and I’m looking forward to seeing thousands of my fellow gun owners in Richmond on Monday. I’ll be lining up bright and early to pass through the magnetometers if need be so I can join Stephen Williford, Dick Heller, Del. Nick Freitas, Antonia Okafor, and the others who’ll be speaking during the Lobby Day rally, though I suspect that many attendees may choose to remain outside of the gun-free zone established by the governor.
Gun control advocates and anti-gun politicians like Ralph Northam are doing everything they can to try to tamp down attendance and make it seem like a gathering of nutjobs will be taking place. Those in attendance on Monday, and those lucky few who read or watch a fair accounting of Lobby Day, will clearly see that the heart and soul of the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is comprised of average everyday Americans who are engaged in citizen activism, many of them for the very first time.
They know that this year’s Lobby Day isn’t the end of a movement, though it may be the culmination of the dozens of meetings where thousands of us have shown up to declare our support for our cities, towns, and counties becoming Second Amendment Sanctuaries. It might be the end of a chapter, but we’re still at the beginning of this story. We still have to see what bills pass out of the legislature, what bills are signed by Gov. Northam, what bills get challenged in court, and what bills go into effect on July 1st. Then, and only then, will see how these Second Amendment Sanctuaries respond to any unconstitutional laws placed on the books.