Once upon a time, Virginia was a pretty pro-gun state, all things considered. They were purging their legal system of bad gun control laws that did little to inhibit criminals but interfered with law-abiding citizens’ constitutionally-protected rights. They were moving in the right direction.
Unfortunately, that came to a screeching halt.
While most of the state still harbors pro-gun sentiment, the legislature has taken a definite anti-gun slant following the last election. Among the laws passed by them is a repeal of the preemption law that barred local governments from passing their own gun control.
Well, that law hasn’t shaken out quite like the anti-gunners hoped.
Some gun owners in Rappahannock and indeed across the commonwealth will be happy to hear that the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors (BOS) unanimously passed the “No Local Gun Control” resolution at Monday night’s regular meeting.
The resolution, drafted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League and added to the agenda last minute by Chair Christine Smith of the Piedmont District, is a symbolic response to new state legislation which grants localities the authority to enact their own firearm restrictions.
“I think it’s important that we take a stand,” Smith said, adding that she believes it important for the supervisors to express publicly that they do not intend to enact any further gun control measures.
Rappahannock isn’t the only county to pass such a law. They’re also not likely to be the last.
What this does is essentially reestablish preemption, but on a county level where the state legislature has little say on the matter. Considering how many counties in the state ended up becoming sanctuary counties, I suspect that preemption will still, ultimately, be the rule pretty much everywhere except for Richmond and the D.C. suburbs.
It’s an interesting bit of rebellion, to be sure, and quite legal as well.
The truth of the matter is, though, that preemption is about making it so people can comply with the law. If travelers are forced to learn the local gun laws of every community they travel through, there’s going to be problems. By creating a single, unified code, people can comply far more easily.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t go away with county preemption. People still have to check local laws. But it does help speed up the process a bit since counties that bar communities from passing their own gun control are relatively safe for gun owners.
I can’t help but think, though, that this push on gun control that Governor Ralph “Blackface” Northam and his allies have been ramming through won’t come back to bite them come election time. It really does seem that a large number of Virginians oppose his anti-gun measures, and yet he keeps ramming them through.
We’ll have to see how things shake out come election time, but don’t be surprised to see a lot of these county preemption laws become irrelevant shortly after the next batch of elections.
But, until then, counties have to do what they can to preserve the Second Amendment rights of their citizens.
Good for them.