Monday, December 23, 2019

Will Virginia Be The Flashpoint In The U.S. ?

Virginia AG Says 2A Sanctuaries "Have No Legal Force." But Is That Actually True?

by Daisy Luther 

The Attorney General of Virginia stepped into the fray yesterday with an opinion on the validity of Second Amendment Sanctuaries that have sprung up across the state in response to draconian gun control legislation. He said that the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions have no legal force and that municipalities will have no choice but to enforce the unconstitutional laws, should the bill be turned into law in January.

But is this actually true? Or is it just a statement meant to discourage dissent? Digging into this, it seems that it’s certainly not as cut and dried as the AG would have us all believe.

Let’s start out with what AG Mark Herring had to say.

It is my opinion that these resolutions have no legal effect. It is my further opinion that localities and local constitutional officers cannot nullify state laws and must comply with gun violence prevention measures that the General Assembly may enact. (source)

County sheriffs are often considered the last against unconstitutional legislation, with the authority to defy even federal law.
Historically, some sheriffs have not only enforced the laws; they have also decided which laws not to enforce. They view this as protecting the people from the intrusions of the federal government.
The “constitutional sheriff” movement is comprised of current and former members of law enforcement who believe that sheriffs are the ultimate authority in their jurisdiction—even above federal law enforcement…
…While it may seem like a fringe movement, it is prevalent enough to be taken seriously. In 2013, 500 sheriffs agreed not to enforce any gun laws created by the federal government. In Utah, almost all elected sheriffs signed an agreement to protect the Bill of Rights—and fight any federal officials who tried to limit them. [Robert Tsai / Politico] (source)

Wouldn’t depriving gun owners of their Second Amendment rights fall under the category of something constitutionally protected?

AG Herring’s statement contradicts a 2014 opinion.

Attorney General Herring’s current opinion seems politically biased since he has previously rendered more than one opinion at odds with this statement. 

Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, the current majority leader in the House of Delegates who will serve as minority leader in the next legislative session, issued a statement Friday afternoon drawing attention to what he sees as a contradiction between the sanctuaries opinion and Herring’s previous decision to not defend Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages when Herring concluded the prohibition was unconstitutional, despite what Gilbert argues was a statutory requirement to do so. (source)

That certainly does seem inconsistent with a “rule of strict construction.”

Virginians are unlikely to back down over the AG’s opinion.

Virginians are outraged at the prospective new laws and many gun owners are openly defiant. Counties, cities, and municipalities across the state are decrying the unconstitutional new laws and they are getting organized.
When gun owners were threatened with the National Guard to enforce compliance, it only seemed to accelerate the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement.  One county officially established a militia and more sure to follow, either officially or unofficially.
This is a battle of wills that’s being watched closely around the country. Where Virginia goes, the nation will follow, whether that’s compliance or outright refusal.
Gun control advocates may have chosen the wrong state as a testing ground. The state government seems to have underestimated the unflinching resolve of rural residents. So far, despite the state government’s threats and posturing, Virginians seem unbowed and gun owners across the nation are supporting them.

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