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Prince William Becomes 59th Virginia 2nd Amendment Constitutional County (for Now)

| December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments | News

Hundreds pack the McCoart Building to see if Prince William County will become a “gun sanctuary.” (Photo by David Moore, Western Prince William Chatter.)

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted 6-2 to become a Constitutional County regarding 2nd Amendment Rights, at 12:27 a.m., Wednesday. It was the board’s last act on its very last meeting.

The resolution makes Prince William the 59th County in Virginia to pass this resolution and the first in Northern Virginia.

The vote came down to party lines with all Republicans supporting it: Chairman Corey Stewart, Ruth Anderson (Occoquan), Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville), Pete Candland (Gainesville), Maureen Caddigan (Potomac) and Marty Nohe (Coles).

The two Democrats, Frank Principi (Woodbridge) and Victor Angry (Neabsco) opposed.

The resolution is intended to send a message to members of the General Assembly in Richmond where bills to restrict gun ownership are already being written by Democrats.

As it is the resolution of the outgoing board, it likely will not stand for long. Newly elected Chairwoman Anne Wheeler (D)  said she would vote to repeal the resolution when she takes office in January, the Democrats will be in the majority by 5-3.

Still, pro-gun rights citizens said they felt it was necessary to show up to send a message to Richmond.

Hundreds of pro-2nd amendment citizens came out to speak on their feeling that the 2nd Amendment is necessary for the safety of a free state and of individuals. Many said societies are safer with guns in the hands of responsible gun owners who can defend themselves and protect others.

There was little discussion by the board following Citizen’s Time. Supervisor Nohe wanted to clarify the resolution and if it meant they would become a “sanctuary county.”

Stewart said he did not use that term as it might be confused with “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants. But Nohe asked: “what they were voting for?” Are they directing county police to not comply with state laws? “That would be a slippery slope.”

Stewart agreed that is an important distinction, and said they are not directing police nor other staff to oppose the laws of the state.

The legislation mainly states their displeasure and opposition towards the General Assembly Virginia, state or federal government proposing or passing laws that would infringe on the citizen’s rights to bear arms.

It notes that all supervisors swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution as well as the Virginia Constitution and thus they oppose the passage of laws that would violate those documents.

Now that the Democrats are in the majority, and have taken a bold stance on the issue, citizens felt that going to their local governments would be one means of recourse. Gun laws such as limiting the kind of guns one could own, having red-flag laws and age restrictions on gun use.

Governor Ralph Northam had said he would support new gun legislation, but the Virginia Mercury reported that Northam’s spokeswoman said he would like to see some people “grandfathered in” if they already owned the guns in question, “military-style weaponry commonly used in mass shootings.”

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw-D of Fairfax proposed the legislation that would make gun owners of “assault weapons” felons, but that was the first draft of a bill that was still being written.

But legislation like that set off a political revolution in Virginia, with citizens going to their counties asking to become “gun sanctuaries.” The notion caught on across the state.

Speakers before the Board of County Supervisors ranged in their messages. The said they were responsible gun owners. Many were military, police or former military. Some were military wives. They wanted to protect themselves and others in their family. They said they could become felons simply for owning guns to protect their families.

They noted how some places such as D.C. are less safe despite stricter gun laws.

Most of the speakers were men but there was diversity. An African American speaker said that he could not trust the government to protect him when they enslaved his ancestors.

Some new immigrants said they do not come to this country to have their rights taken away.

One speaker said that guns could prevent a tragedy like Virginia Tech, noting the police took hours to respond to that incident. Some supported rifle shooting as a sport for young people.

Many people talked about tyranny and how the 2nd Amendment protects all other amendments. One man noted they are not lobbyists. They are citizens and they are taking their time to be there late into the night.

There was little opposition to the resolution. One woman said people are going about this the wrong way. They need to be contacting their delegates rather than making gun laws a county issue.

Republican Committee Chairman Bill Card called the new governance in Richmond “Bedlam.”He said there would be retribution, but clarified political, not physical.

Some said the Democrats would not be satisfied but would keep taking more from the citizens. They would allow tyranny. One man said, “They want it all!”

Pastor Bill Cook called the Democrats in Richmond “the Communist Party.” He said Democrats want to take away guns because they know they are going to hell and don’t want to get there quickly. “Anarchists are running our state!” And other pastors are too cowardly to speak the truth.

One man asked there be and exemption to not oppose red flag laws. He said his son had to be institutionalized. Although he is doing better, he still fears he could do something dangerous if he had access to firearms and they had some close calls.

Some speakers addressed the new board telling them to uphold the resolution and listen to the number of people who came to support it.

© 2019, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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