It was standing room only at the Franklin County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday as more than 350 people came out in support of gun rights. Residents were there to ask the county to become the latest in an ongoing movement to become a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
The Virginia Citizens Defense League reached out to residents through Facebook in the days leading up to Tuesday’s meeting to encourage a show of support. Residents who attended were wearing “Guns Save Lives” stickers that were handed out as people entered.
Franklin County becoming a Second Amendment sanctuary was not part of Tuesday’s agenda. It was instead an addition to the county’s public comment period at the beginning of the meeting.
William Dyer Jr. of Henry, a member of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, spoke on behalf of those in attendance. Passing a resolution is only the first step in a fight against any possible new laws that could restrict gun rights, he said.
“This can’t be the last thing we do,” Dyer said. “We have to take steps to take it into the court system and have them nullify any laws that are unconstitutional that get passed down this next session.”
The Virginia Citizens Defense League’s concern is that a new Democrat majority in the Virginia House and Senate will pass new gun control legislation. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has stated plans to pursue more legislation following the November elections that flipped both houses.
While supervisors took no action at Tuesday’s meeting, each one spoke in favor of the resolution. They asked those in attendance to give them time to make sure it is done properly.
“We have to do this,” said Cline Brubaker, chairman and Blackwater District representative. “It is not something to be taken lightly.”
Blue Ridge District representative Tim Tatum assured those in attendance they were not putting off voting on a resolution. He said county staff had been tasked with forming a resolution that could be voted on as early as next month’s meeting.
“We have to make sure what we do is correct,” Tatum said.
If passed, Franklin County will join Appomattox, Campbell, Carroll and Pittsylvania counties as Second Amendment sanctuaries. Multiple other counties in Virginia are also discussing a resolution.