It's Not Just Virginia Counties Embracing Sanctuary Status

Typically, if you hear the phrase “sanctuary city,” it’s safe to assume that rather than refer to the growing number of counties opposing gun control, you’re talking a community that is instead refusing to enforce immigration laws. That’s because most areas claiming Second Amendment sanctuary status are counties.

That’s been the case in Virginia where a lot of counties have jumped on the sanctuary bandwagon since the state turned blue in November.

However, it’s no longer just counties on that bandwagon.

Norton City Council joined the ranks of 32 Virginia cities and counties when it unanimously passed its own Second Amendment sanctuary resolution Tuesday.

More than 40 city and local residents applauded as council members William Mays, Robert Fultz Jr., Delores Belcher and Mayor Joe Fawbush joined Councilman and licensed gun dealer Mark Caruso in voting for Caruso’s four-page resolution declaring the city a sanctuary.

A two-page version drafted by City Attorney Bill Bradshaw was not brought up for consideration.

In public comment before Caruso entered his resolution for a vote, Hiltons resident Donald Purdie said a vote for the sanctuary resolution “sends a very clear message that we’re not going to stand idly by and have our Second Amendment rights be infringed upon.”

Scott County, where Purdie lives, will see its Board of Supervisors consider a sanctuary resolution at Wednesday’s board meeting at 8:30 a.m.at the Community Services Building at 190 Beech St., Gate City.

Caruso’s and Bradshaw’s drafts each stated that the city would express concern or opposition about any proposed Virginia General Assembly or Congressional legislation that would infringe upon citizens’ constitutional rights to own firearms.

Caruso, before reading his resolution, thanked the audience for coming to support his proposal.

“The bottom line is this,” said Caruso. “In order to prevent a constitutional crisis and potential confrontations between the commonwealth and good, law-abiding citizens and the good law enforcement officers who serve us daily, we the people are asking the governor ask his allies in the legislature to withdraw all the new bills that restrict gun ownership and the rights of citizens to peaceably assemble and train, or to veto those bills should they reach his desk.”

Caruso said the movement of Second Amendment sanctuary measures by Virginia local governments in recent weeks highlighted “two paths” in the gun control legislative debate: respecting the right to keep and bear arms along with better crime control or creating “another class of gun-owning felons.”

Now, it should be noted that Norton, VA isn’t exactly a bustling metropolis. It apparently is home to about 4,000 people, give or take a few dozen. It’s also the westernmost city in the state and not outside of any major urban centers. In other words, it fits the mold of being rural.

That, of course, isn’t a criticism. We tend to see rural communities be the ones to most vehemently oppose gun control.

Norton isn’t alone, either. While Roanoke voted down a sanctuary measure earlier this week, other cities appear to be considering their own measures and those may well pass.

So what does this mean for gun control in Virginia?

My own take is that it’s a clear signal that while the state may have gone blue, that may not have been because of the Republican opposition to gun control. A lot of the state, geographically speaking, has stated definitively that they’re not interested in gun control in their area.

Will the incoming Democratic legislature listen, though?