Certain topics can be polarizing conversations. You fall hard one side or the other. One of those topics has been making local headlines recently — guns.
Hundreds of people have been filling local government meetings to plead with officials to take a stand and uphold what the United States Constitution protects is individual right to bear arms.
Mark Kittinger of Rocky Mount, said recent legislation filed for Virginia’s 2020 General Assembly was concerning to him. He said he believed, if passed, the legislation would compromise Second Amendment rights.
“Firearms’ owners here in Virginia have found that we are now residents in a very unfriendly state,” Kittinger said. “We’ve been targeted for extremely heavy, anti-gun legislation.”
Rocky Mount joined a growing list of communities who are becoming “Second Amendment sanctuaries” when the town council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the move.
“The Town of Rocky Mount will oppose any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights of its citizens under Article 2A of the United States Constitution wherein the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for the purposes of lawful self-defense, community defense and hunting, as protected by the United States and Virginia Constitutions would be diminished as these rights are a part of the fabric of our community, our history and our way of life,” the resolution stated.
Franklin County Supervisors are expected to vote on a similar measure at their next meeting next week. If passed, Franklin County will join Appomattox, Campbell, Carroll, Roanoke and Pittsylvania counties as Second Amendment sanctuaries. Multiple other counties in Virginia are also discussing a resolution.
During the November board of supervisors meeting, hundreds filled the county building, and supervisors assured the crowd they were not delaying a vote to pay it lip service but to ensure a resolution was executed properly.
“We have to do this,” said Cline Brubaker, chairman and Blackwater District representative. “It is not something to be taken lightly.”
While local officials are taking a stand and supporting Second Amendment sanctuary movements, as one Henry man pointed out during the supervisor’s November meeting, the resolution cannot be the only line of defense citizens have against the proposed new laws that could restrict gun rights.
William Dyer Jr., a member of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said passing such a resolution is only the first step.
“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.”
There has been very little in the way of resistance to these resolutions. At a recent Roanoke County Supervisors’ meeting, nine people spoke against the measure calling it “embarrassing” and a waste of time.
Only time will tell, though, if these resolutions will be enough to send the Virginia General Assembly the message that people, whether residents or government officials, are prepared to defend their Second Amendment granted gun rights.