This the second of a two-part editorial. The first part ran in the Friday, Dec. 20
edition of The Franklin News-Post.
Is there a lot of irresponsible talk about interposition, nullification and firing the first shots of a new civil war? Yes there is. There’s also a general lack of understanding about the Constitution that people say they intend to stand up for. At the Bedford County meeting, one attendee brought a handmade sign that read: “The 2nd Amendment is very, very clear.” Actually it’s not, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much litigation over it. Gun rights supporters naturally fixate on the line about how the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” That sounds pretty absolute. Except that the U.S. Supreme Court has found lots of restrictions and limitations on gun ownership that don’t constitute an infringement. And these are rulings by conservative justices. Even Antonin Scalia — revered on the right — found that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” All these amateur constitutionalists should go read Scalia’s majority opinion in the District of Columbia v. Heller decision in 2008 in which he lists some of the restrictions that are permissible. The pro-sanctuary advocates may not like the gun bills the General Assembly is about to pass, but those bills may well be quite constitutional. The gun rights advocates are right to oppose new laws if that’s where their hearts lead them but unless they intend to overthrow the government, they will have to live with whatever is passed.
Despite invoking the word “sanctuary,” these resolutions mostly just oppose unconstitutional restrictions on guns. Democrats are confident their bills will be found constitutional, which means these resolutions are simply meaningless. Is there any indication that these counties intend to take up arms against Richmond? Get real. Democrats should just take a deep breath — and do nothing. For goodness’ sake, don’t go talking about calling out the National Guard. That’s just fighting hysteria with hysteria. The odds of having a rational conversation about guns are low to begin with; this just makes it impossible.
Jared Walczak, a conservative policy wonk at the Tax Foundation and former aide to state Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham County, summed up things nicely in a recent social media post.
“While it’s reasonable for a sheriff not to make gun roundups a top priority of his or her office on which to expend considerable resources, local law enforcements shouldn’t just disregard the enforcement of state laws. But even more . . . Imagine if Virginia’s Republican congressional delegation had called for arresting law enforcement officials in immigration sanctuary cities, or sending in the National Guard . . . If Democrats are trying to scare people about just how sweeping and extreme their approach to gun control might be, they’re doing a pretty good job of it.”
We know the new Democratic leadership in the General Assembly doesn’t have much affinity with rural Virginia. Don’t compound that problem by wildly talking about calling up the National Guard to occupy every rural locality that dares to simply have a different opinion.