The Fauquier County Board of Supervisors is weighing whether to designate the county a “Second Amendment sanctuary” in a show of support for gun ownership rights.
A Second Amendment sanctuary declaration could state the county’s opposition to any legislation limiting gun rights, but the resolution would not have any legal effect.
The wave of resolutions from other rural counties declaring sanctuary status follows the Nov. 5 election, when the Democrats won control of the Virginia General Assembly and the expectation that action on gun regulation legislation will follow.
In 2020, Democrats could consider so-called “red flag” laws, which would enable a judge to temporarily remove guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. They may also consider legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and expand background checks for private party sales and gun show purchases. A ban on assault weapons may also be on the table.
Dinwiddie County became the sixth Virginia county to become a Second Amendment sanctuary following a vote of its supervisors on Thursday, WWBT in Richmond reported. Appomattox, Campbell, Carroll, Charlotte and Pittsylvania counties previously took that action.
In its resolution, the Dinwiddie supervisors said they don’t want county funds used to restrict gun rights.
The Second Amendment sanctuary movement has also been seen in Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and Texas, according to Reason magazine.
In Fauquier, “people have been contacting me through social media” about the sanctuary matter, said County Board Chairman Chris Butler, R-Lee. As of Wednesday, he said he had heard from about a half dozen people.
At the very least, the supervisors are expected to discuss the sanctuary matter at their next regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12. “We’ll probably have a discussion if we get a lot of calls or have a large turnout,” Butler said.
In the meantime, the Fauquier County attorney’s office is researching the matter.
“Is it legal, is it even worth taking up? That what Tracy is looking up,” Butler said, referring to Fauquier County Deputy Attorney Tracy Gallehr. “We don’t want to start spit balling until we know.”
“I personally support lawful gun ownership and the Second Amendment. I’m a lawful gun owner and user,” Butler said, noting Fauquier has a lot of hunters.
Butler noted the supervisors this month approved a list of legislative priorities they want the Virginia General Assembly to consider. Among them is one stating: “Fauquier County strongly opposes any legislative attempts to undermine or limit legal and Constitutional gun ownership in the county and Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Butler noted the county’s commonwealth attorney and county sheriff are the constitutional officials tasked with law enforcement.
“I support the Second Amendment. I take a constitutional oath,” said County Sheriff Bob Mosier, also a Republican. “This needs to go to state lawmakers. That’s where attention needs to be. I’m not a legislator. My position is clearly defined.”
Supervisor Rick Gerhardt, R-Cedar Run, said he thinks “the prudent thing to do is to wait to see what the General Assembly comes up with” in terms of new gun legislation.
Supervisor Mary Leigh McDaniel, I-Marshall, Supervisor Holder Trumbo, R-Scott, and Supervisor Chris Granger, R-Center, couldn’t be reached for comment about the Second Amendment sanctuary issue.
Reach James Ivancic at firstname.lastname@example.org