Meet The WV Lawmaker Talking About Annexing VA's 2A Sanctuary Counties

When I first heard about the idea offered up by several West Virginia lawmakers to allow counties in Virginia to leave the state and be annexed into West Virginia, I thought it was a pretty funny political stunt and statement. After talking with Del. Gary Howell, one of the chief sponsors of the resolution, I’m convinced that he’s serious. What’s more, it’s not a bad idea (though I still don’t know how practical it is).


Howell notes that there’s a Supreme Court decision on the books from 1870 that allows Frederick County, Virginia to join West Virginia, and the WV state Senate has already approved a resolution welcoming the northwestern Virginia county to become a part of the Mountaineer State.

West Virginia became a state in 1861 when the Union-supporting counties of Northwestern Virginia broke off from the rest of the state, which eventually became the capital of the Confederacy. Frederick was one of three counties, along with Berkeley and Jefferson, given the opportunity to join West Virginia after the Civil War.

Berkeley and Jefferson chose to do so, but Frederick never held a vote on the issue.

“There remain, as there have always been, feelings of deep affection for Frederick County and for her inhabitants by and among the citizens of West Virginia, and in particular by and among the citizens of those counties in West Virginia which may be regarded as the children of Frederick County,” Sen. Trump wrote in the resolution. “In 1862, when the government of Virginia, meeting in Wheeling, took up the question of the formation of a new state, Frederick County was among those counties which were regarded as having a natural place within the new state.”

Howell and dozens of other delegates, meanwhile, want to take it one step further and find a way for other counties to leave Virginia for higher and common ground. Of course, in order for that to happen, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly in Virginia would have to sign off, and I honestly don’t see that happening.


However, depending on the legislative session turns out, I could see a few Virginia counties holding non-binding votes in favor of leaving the state as a political message.

Del. Howell raises some really interesting points about the deep divides in our society, and whether or not they could be alleviated through a redrawing of borders. If we redistrict and gerrymander congressional districts, why not go the whole enchilada and redo the boundaries of states? Sure it’s a little crazy, but don’t you ever get the feeling that our current state is making a lot of us a little crazy? Maybe now’s the perfect time!

Also on today’s program we discuss the upcoming Lobby Day in Virginia, and the logistics of attending as well as our plans for coverage of the event here at Bearing Arms. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and the podcast page. Thanks as always for watching, listening, and spreading the word!


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