Floyd County Supervisors Tuesday night unanimously became the latest of (to date) more than 60 counties and cities to approve declare themselves a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” in response to plans by the new Democratic majority of the General Assembly to create new gun control legislation in the Commonwealth next year.
As several speakers pointed out to a packed house with an overflow crowd at the Floyd County High School auditorium before the vote, the resolution is, by and large, a feel-good document because Virginia law does not allow localities to pass any laws that overturn state laws. Two speakers at the long hearing that lasted close to three hours listed the duties of what a board of supervisors can or cannot do and becoming a sanctuary of any kind isn’t among them.
It doesn’t matter. The resolution is on the record. Now the real work must begin with those who wish to deal with a legislature that is determined to pass, at the very least, an expansion of background checks, limit the size of magazines and curtail the availability of assault-style weapons and whatever they pass will face multiple court tests before any of them might or might not become law.
Floyd Press Editor Ashley Spinks will have a complete story on the hearing at the Floyd County High School auditorium, along with some photos I shot.
A few observations by one gun owner (myself), who grew up in a hunting family:
–Some speakers urged the Supervisors to “do more” with the creation of ordinances that block whatever the General Assembly might do. That probably won’t work because Virginia law does not allow local governments to overturn Commonwealth law.
–Some felt the new laws will take away guns currently owned by Virginia residents. Not likely. Virginia law prohibits the retroactive application of new laws. Any new gun laws, if passed, can only apply to purchases of weapons from the date passed. Some might try but the courts would strike such legislation down.
–Some suggested Floyd County create a local “militia” to help make sure new laws are not enforced in Floyd County. Similar suggestions have surfaced elsewhere in places like Tazewell County and Culpeper. That could be a dangerous route because most “militias” in America are considered right-wing extremists with white supremacy leanings. Law enforcement in Floyd County falls under the purview of Commonwealth Attorney Eric Branscom and Sheriff Brian Craig and I haven’t heard of any serious complaints about their performance in serving county citizens.
–A few speakers Tuesday night opposed the sanctuary and most got scattered applause but at least two also got loud boos and some standing up shouting with their thumbs pointed down. That was shameful. Each explained their reasons for opposing and they were not rude when others spoke in support of the issue.
A public hearing should be a place where those with differing views should have been able to speak without harassment. Those who booed and shouted insults showed an ugly side of Floyd County. We saw the real face of the County in the hearing when Board chairman thanks the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department deputies who rescheduled their planned Christmas dinner, also scheduled for Tuesday, so they could help with the hearing.
Thanks to Sheriff Brian Craig and the deputies. Their service is appreciated.
As for plans of the new majority of the Old Dominion’s general assembly? I’m a gun owner and have a concealed carry permit. I have no plans or intentions to surrender what I own and purchased under the laws that existed at the time that I obtained them to anyone at any time.
I can live with expanded background checks as long as they exist to prevent criminals from owning weapons.
I’m not a fan of red flag laws because those that exist because they been abused too often.
Several of the proposed laws that have been announced do, in my opinion, go too far and should be opposed but the best way to do so is to work to keep them from becoming law. I have been in touch with both Democrats and Republicans that I now in the General Assembly and have expressed my concern. More than a few of the Democrats agree that several of the proposals won’t fly when the actual debate begins in the new General Assembly term.
The best way to stop bad laws is at the source of attempts to create them. Waiting until they become law is too late.