Once the Democrats took control of Virginia’s state legislature in November’s elections, it was only a matter of time before industrial-strength gun control legislation got passed. The new legislature isn’t seated until Jan. 6, but everybody had a good idea what the legislation would entail: a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” red-flag provisions that would allow guns to be taken without any due process and universal background checks.
A number of counties had begun declaring themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” meaning law enforcement there wouldn’t act on any state laws they believed abrogated the Second Amendment. Virginia Democrats, including governor and blackface aficionado Ralph Northam, have threatened pretty dire consequences if the counties didn’t fall into line, with one suggesting the National Guard would be called out.
That is tough talk. The problem with tough talk is that it won’t accomplish a tough task: Fully 79 percent of Virginia’s counties have become, with all due rapidity, Second Amendment sanctuaries, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Out of Virginia’s 95 counties, 75 have voted to become Second Amendment sanctuaries, a whopping 79 percent. Another 18 legally independent cities have also adopted the designation.
On Thursday alone, eight locales joined the sanctuary club.
Last Tuesday, Northam threatened Second Amendment sanctuaries with potential “consequences” if they didn’t enforce whatever laws get passed when the legislature convenes.
“There’s not going to be retaliation. That’s not what I’m about. I’m about making Virginia safer,” Northam said, according to WTKR.
“If we have constitutional laws on the books and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be consequences, but I’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.”
So no consequences but consequences. Gotcha. Northam has also gone with a carrot-and-stick approach, promising a grandfather clause to banned firearms as a carrot.
In terms of consequences, it may be the Democrats who end up facing them. For instance, take Fauquier County in the northeast part of the state. This was the line to get into the Second Amendment sanctuary hearing on Thursday:
The Free Beacon described “several thousand people adorned with ‘Guns Save Lives’ stickers” outside the meeting in the town of Warrenton.
“Any erosion of our constitutional rights is just the beginning,” Gary Gray, who showed up with a sticker that said “The British are Coming,” said.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg on what they ultimately want, which is complete gun confiscation across the whole United States. These United States were founded with firearms. All the other rights we have are only guaranteed because of this right.”
Meanwhile, Gary’s 18-year-old daughter Kaitlyn — who was wearing a “Shall Not Be Infringed” sticker — said “[i]t’s scary that this is happening.”
“I don’t think anyone should have the right to infringe on our Constitution,” she said. “We shouldn’t even have to discuss a grandfather clause. I don’t think that should be even on the table. I don’t think we should have to worry about anyone taking our guns away at all.”
At least in this situation, they probably won’t be. The Democrats have already backed away from their most radical proposal, which would have involved banning the possession of guns like the AR-15. You also don’t hear statements like those made by Democratic Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin last week.
You may remember McEachin, who said that Second Amendment sanctuaries “certainly risk funding because if the sheriff’s department is not going to enforce the law, they’re going to lose money. The counties’ attorney’s offices are not going to have the money to prosecute because their prosecutions are going to go down.
“And ultimately, I’m not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law,” McEachin added. “That’s his call, because I don’t know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that’s obviously an option he has.”
The Virginia National Guard didn’t seem entirely on board with this assessment.
“We have received multiple questions regarding proposed legislation for the 2020 General Assembly session and the authority of the Governor of Virginia to employ the Virginia National Guard in a law enforcement role. We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights,” a statement from Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia, read.
We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights. We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard.
— Va. National Guard (@VaNationalGuard) December 13, 2019
“I encourage everyone to be patient while we allow our elected officials to work through the legislative process. We have not received any requests from the Governor, or anyone on his staff, about serving in a law enforcement role related to any proposed legislation.”
I encourage everyone to be patient while we allow our elected officials to work through the legislative process. We have not received any requests from the Governor, or anyone on his staff, about serving in a law enforcement role related to any proposed legislation.
— Va. National Guard (@VaNationalGuard) December 13, 2019
Nor will they, I imagine. Virginia may be trending blueish, but it’s still a torn state. There are heavily concentrated pockets of blue and wide swaths of red. When those in the pockets try to attenuate the rights of those in the swaths, there’s a tendency for things to work out this way.
If the new Democrat majority in Virginia is going to pass stringent gun control, what it is facing is, at best, a logistical and public relations nightmare. Twenty percent of the state isn’t going to disarm 80 percent of the state, and it’s going to be difficult for a governor terminally poxed by scandals involving blackface and abortion to mete out “consequences” in any serious form.
Meanwhile, if this is the delicacy with which Virginia Democrats plan on handling the rest of their agenda, good luck with holding onto that majority.
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