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Stewart to propose resolution declaring Prince William a ‘Second Amendment sanctuary,’ Wheeler promises a quick repeal

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Corey Stewart

Corey Stewart

Corey Stewart, the outgoing Republican at-large chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, will introduce a measure to declare the county a “Second Amendment sanctuary” at Tuesday’s board meeting. But Chairman-elect Ann Wheeler, a Democrat, says the new board will repeal any such effort as soon as it takes over in January. 

Ann Wheeler at Oct. 8 debate at NVCC

Ann Wheeler, the Democratic nominee for chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, speaks during an Oct. 8 debate at Northern Virginia Community College.

Stewart announced his intent to carry the resolution during a Monday morning interview on WMAL, a conservative talk radio station based in Washington. More than 20 other Virginia localities have passed similar resolutions and an additional 30 are discussing them ahead of the 2020 General Assembly session. Democrats won control of both houses of the state legislature – as well as the Prince William County Board of Supervisors -- in November.  

“Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions passed in other localities aim to ensure that local tax dollars are not used to restrict Second Amendment rights. However, the measures do not exempt Virginia residents from having to comply with any new gun laws approved by state lawmakers in the coming year. 

 “We're going to be doing what a bunch of localities have already done in Virginia and say, ‘Look, you can pass your laws but that doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to use local police or the local sheriff’s office to help enforce those laws,’” Stewart said. 

But, Stewart added, “Federal and state laws pre-empt a local ordinance, and we’re not proposing something that’s going to conflict with federal or state law.”

It’s unclear how county law enforcement would be able to skirt enforcing new gun laws enacted by the Virginia General Assembly. 

Wheeler sent a press release shortly after Stewart’s announcement Monday morning pushing back against his proposal. 

“I want to be clear – any efforts by the outgoing Board to hamper the enforcement of new gun safety legislation passed in Virginia will be immediately repealed when the new board takes office in January,” Wheeler said. “Change has come to Prince William County. The residents voted, and the board will reflect their voice.”

Democratic lawmakers, who will have majority control of both the House of Delegates, state Senate and governor’s mansion for the first time in a generation, have pre-filed over a dozen gun-related bills ahead of the 2020 session, including measures requiring universal background checks, enabling “extreme-risk protective orders,” which would allow a judge to remove weapons from individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others, and bans on assault-style weapons.

In the past, Virginia Republicans have stymied Democrats’ proposed gun legislation, including last July when Republicans voted to postpone and ultimately cancel a special session on gun violence called by Gov. Ralph Northam (D). 

At the Nov. 26 board of supervisors’ meeting, about 70 gun-rights activists lined up to ask the board to declare Prince William County a “Second Amendment sanctuary.” But it was unclear until today whether any supervisor would take up the cause.

County resident Joe Genarro, 58, said lawmakers heading to Richmond next year want to, “trample on the rights of law-abiding citizens.” 

“I respectfully ask that you guys lead the way and join us in protecting our constitutional rights,” Generro said at the meeting. 

Supervisors will hold a public hearing and vote on the measure during the 7:30 p.m. session of their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10. It will be the final meeting of the outgoing board before the new board takes over. 

The new board, which will have a 5-3 Democratic majority. The current board has a 6-2 Republican majority.

Woodbridge Supervisor-elect Margaret Franklin (D) issued a statement Monday opposing the proposed sanctuary resolution, echoing Wheeler’s stance on the issue.  

“I am appalled that the outgoing Board of County Supervisors would attempt to pass a resolution without considering the harm that gun violence has had on residents throughout the Commonwealth and the impact on our local community,” Franklin said.  

“I stand with Chairwoman-elect Ann Wheeler in opposing any efforts by the outgoing Board to hamper the enforcement of new gun safety legislation passed in Virginia.” 

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(16) comments


Empty gesture and Stewart can get lost. That being said, kinda pissed I just bought a house in this county. The crapple the Democrats are going to push are going to ruin the county.


Prince William County - now part of the Swamp. How sad.


Thank goodness next year we are draining the GOP swamp for good.

Jim McCarthy

Is lame duck Stewart violating the Mitch McConnell rule not allowing a sitting official to name a justice? C'mon, Corey, be consistent with your leaders. The people have spoken and elected a Democratic majority. Go softly into the night.


Empty gesture. Virginia is a Dillon rule state.


Exactly, these 2a sanctuaries mean nothing they can't outweigh state law.


Exactly. This is just a tactic on both sides to get uninformed Prince William County residents angry over something that virtually creates no change to their every day lives.


Don't "both sides" this nonsense this is a tactic of right-wing Republican linked special interests, such as the VCDL to rile up the base, and to create a ruckus to support the gun lobby and the industry it represents.


When will people learn. Guns dont kill people. People kill people. Whats next, knife safety legislation? Idiots. Lol


I dont often agree with Stewart but I do agree with this "proclamation" and I will work against the re-election of those that act to repeal it. Unless those Supervisors physically protect me 24 7 since the cops are spread to thin, then my vote for 2nd amendment comes first.


Shame that the majority that have already indicated they are not for it and wouldn’t vote for it anyway, are there because the people who put them there wouldn’t want them to vote for this.


you go dude gonna miss you


Corey went off the rails when he supported white supremacists and fascists while running for nearly every elected office available in the Commonwealth. This is just more of his extremist views, opposing more than 80% of Virginians who support universal background checks among other common sense gun laws.


I'm curious as to where this 80% number came from. Twitter doesn't count.


Polls are pretty consistent and have been for some time


There will not need for the new Board to repeal any attempt on enacting a "Second Amendment Sanctuary" Proclamation, they just won't vote for it again next year, and every year after that. The "signal" that this shows to Richmond is negligible coming from a lame duck BOCS Chair.

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