VIGILANTISM, WITH its alluring tingle of defiance and frontier justice, conjures a cinematic idea of American individualism. A similar impulse is at work among advocates of the so-called Second Amendment sanctuary movement, a trend in mainly rural counties declaring they will refuse to enforce restrictive state gun laws. Both are examples of individuals who, lacking legal authority, put themselves above the law, thereby promoting chaos.
In Virginia, the movement has lately become a fad, spurred by legislative election results that will, starting in January, hand pro-gun control Democrats control of both houses of the General Assembly for the first time in a generation. With a Democrat also in the governor’s mansion, some rural Republicans are raising the specter of mass gun confiscations — and pronouncing themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
The article then proceeded to suggest this movement is “nonsense fanned by mischief-makers with an agenda.” Just lovely:
This is nonsense fanned by mischief-makers with an agenda. In fact, the gun legislation with the best chance of passage would promote public safety by requiring universal background checks — a measure with overwhelming bipartisan support among Virginians in public opinion surveys. Other bills with broad support would limit the number and types of weapons that can be sold. For instance, by restricting handgun purchases by individuals to one per month — an anti-trafficker measure that was the law in Virginia for 20 years before it was repealed in 2012.
Much like the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Virginia’s state constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms too. I guess that makes us mischief-makers who want to see our rights respected? Article I, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution reads:
That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Democrats would be justifiably outraged by this preemptive resistance, except for the fact that they have a sanctuary problem themselves. Gov. Ralph Northam twice vetoed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that would have banned sanctuary cities or counties in the commonwealth because, he explained, it would send “a chilling message” to illegal immigrants.
And Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring is on record refusing to prosecute Virginia’s still-valid marijuana possession laws, in effect unilaterally turning the commonwealth into a pot sanctuary.
So Democrats in Richmond will be in the very awkward position of having to condemn rural counties’ stated intentions to ignore any gun laws they might pass—after employing the same tactic themselves with arguably even less legal justification. Unlike immigration and marijuana laws, the Second Amendment is part of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.