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Second Amendment debate aired tonight

SoVaNow.com / December 02, 2019

The December monthly meeting of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors will take place in an unusual venue — the Mary Bethune Office Complex gymnasium, where hundreds of people are expected to turn out tonight as supervisors consider a resolution declaring Halifax County a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”

The Dec. 2 meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Bethune gym. Citizens comments are expected to begin after a series of public hearings, each likely to be brief, on permits for cell phone towers and the formal authorization of a 1-cent local sales tax to pay for school capital improvements. County citizens overwhelmingly approved the one percent sales tax via a voter referendum on Nov 5.

After members of the public have a chance to speak, board members are expected to vote on a proposed resolution to make Halifax County the latest Virginia locality to declare itself a Second Amendment sanctuary.

If approved, the resolution will add Halifax to a growing list of sanctuary counties — joining Campbell, Charlotte, Pittsylvania and other rural areas where gun owners have risen up to protest legislation that is all but certain to be voted on during the 2020 session of the General Assembly.

After sweeping to victory in the November elections, Democrats have gained control of both houses of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Mansion for the first time in more than two decades. Party candidates ran in November largely on a gun control platform, and Gov. Ralph Northam has promised legislative action in the wake of a May 31 massacre of 12 people by a lone gunman in Virginia Beach, the most recent of Virginia’s mass shootings.

Halifax Del. James Edmunds, who has promoted the Second Amendment sanctuary movement in his communications with local constituents, said he asked ED-1 supervisor J.T. Davis weeks ago to bring the issue before the board this month. Edmunds said he got the idea after seeing Campbell County become the first locality in Virginia to adopt Second Amendment sanctuary language.

“I thought it was a bold statement for the locality to make,” said Edmunds, adding that the Campbell Board of Supervisors was likely the first to act because board members had a meeting on the calendar so soon after the election.

“It’s just the way the board meetings were scheduled,” he said.

While Edmunds acknowledged “Second Amendment sanctuary” status for Halifax County would have “no legal bearing at all,” he said he plans to introduce a bill in the coming General Assembly session that would grant immunity to sanctuary localities from “further restrictions on firearms use and ownership.”

The chances of his bill getting through the House of Delegates, with its incoming 55-45 Democratic majority, are dim, Edmunds conceded. “I don’t have any illusions of my bill passing. I hope it does. I’m going to work it hard. It gives people something to get behind,” he said.

The resolution that Halifax supervisors will take up tonight states that “the Board [of Supervisors] wishes to express its intent to stand as a Sanctuary County for Second Amendment rights and to oppose, within the limits of the Constitutions and laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia, any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict such rights, and to use such legal means at its disposal to protect the rights of the citizens to keep and bear arms, including through legal action, the power of appropriation of public funds, and the right to petition for redress of grievances, and the direction to the law enforcement and judiciary of Halifax County to not enforce any unconstitutional law ….”

Allowing that “local law enforcement is the responsibility and preserve of the Sheriff and the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who are independently elected officers under the Virginia Constitution,” the resolution goes on to state, “the Board wishes to express its sentiments, together with the sentiments of the Halifax County community as a whole, with regard to this important matter, and its continuing intent to take lawful action to protect these important rights.”

Based on the feedback that he has gotten from constituents, Edmunds said he expects the crowd at tonight’s meeting could be as large as 500 people. He added that he does not plan to offer comments at the gathering.

People are “riled up” about the issue, he said.

In part, Edmunds added, that’s because hunters, gun owners and enthusiasts do not know what to expect with unfettered Democratic control in Richmond. Edmunds said he feared the state could enact a ban on military-style assault weapons and confiscate firearms that now belong to gun owners, although no Democratic bills call for confiscation as part of any effort to stem the flow of such weapons.

“People out there don’t see it that way,” he said, believing instead that Democratic legislation could allow someone to “come in and take the gun they had purchased legally and tell them they can’t use that gun. If I thought that [wasn’t] the case, I would say that. If I felt it weren’t part of the discussion, I would say so.

“I haven’t heard that confiscation is not part of the discussion. Until I’m told differently, I’m pretty concerned,” Edmunds said.

Under a bill introduced by incoming Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, a Fairfax Democrat, Virginia would ban the sale and possession of assault weapons. Gun rights advocates have particularly objected to the clause in Saslaw’s bill, SB 16, that bars possession of such weapons.

“If passed, Virginia’s lawmakers would instantly turn lawful owners of America’s most popular centerfire rifle into instant felons, unless they dispossess themselves of their legally purchased modern sporting rifle,” wrote a columnist for AmmoLand Shooting Sports News this week.

“The text of the proposed legislation goes further than the states with the strictest of gun control laws,” the columnist, Larry Keane, added.

Other bills that have been drafted by Virginia Democrats call for universal background checks, “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of potentially violent persons, and imposing an age requirement on those who can use guns.

Edmunds said he especially objected to any age limit after his daughter grew up hunting at a young age — seven years old when she first went out into the woods with a gun. If such a law had been in effect during that time, “she would have had to skip a year” before taking up the sport, Edmunds said. “It just makes no sense.”

Edmunds said he also opposes all other bills he has seen, including so-called “red flag” legislation, which Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature passed at the behest of a Republican governor in the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla. high school shooting that left 17 dead and 17 injured. Edmunds said such laws lack due process protections for those whose guns might be taken away.

“All of a sudden you’re defending himself over what any individual may say is a problem.” Red flag laws in other states require law enforcement or a family member to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person deemed to be a danger to himself or others.

Of all the bills that are likely to come up in 2020, Edmunds said he could only potentially support universal background checks on the sale or transfer of guns. “I do think we could tighten up background checks. I don’t like it, but that deserves discussion,” he said.

The meeting place for tonight’s monthly board session was moved at the behest of Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis Witt and Sheriff Fred Clark, who agreed that the crowd was likely to be too large to accommodate in the second floor meeting room of the Bethune complex, according to County Administrator Scott Simpson.

In his meeting notes, Simpson wrote, “it was determined for both crowd size and simplification of security measures this move was prudent in order to provide the public with a comfortable open setting.”

The Bethune gymnasium is accessible in back of the office complex, where the temporary home of Halifax County Circuit Court clerk’s office is located. It is customary with Board of Supervisors meetings, that no guns are allowed and visitors are required to pass through a metal detector before entering the meeting area.

Resolution for a Second Amendment Sanctuary

The text of the proposed resolution declaring Halifax County a Second Amendment Sanctuary reads as follows:



WHEREAS, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed;” and

WHEREAS, Article 1, Section 13, of the Constitution of Virginia provides “that a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power;” and

WHEREAS, the Halifax County Board of Supervisors (“Board”) is concerned that certain legislation prefiled for introduction in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, and certain legislation that has been introduced in the United States Congress, may have the effect of infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the United States and Virginia Constitutions; and

WHEREAS, the Board is concerned that the passage of any bill imposing unnecessary burdens on law-abiding citizens will, if the burdens are to be enforced by local officials, effectively impose unfunded mandates on the County; and

WHEREAS, the Board is concerned that legislation imposing such unnecessary burdens on law-abiding citizens may infringe on the rights of the citizens of Halifax County to keep and bear Arms under the United States and Virginia Constitutions; and

WHEREAS, the Board wishes to express its deep commitment to the rights of all citizens of Halifax County to keep and bear Arms; and

WHEREAS, the Board wishes to express opposition to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights under the Second Amendment of the citizens of Halifax County to bear arms; and

WHEREAS, the Board wishes to express its intent to stand as a Sanctuary County for Second Amendment rights and to oppose, within the limits of the Constitutions and laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia, any efforts to unconstitutionally restrict such rights, and to use such legal means at its disposal to protect the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms, including through legal action, the power of appropriation of public funds, and the right to petition for redress of grievances, and the direction to the law enforcement and judiciary of Halifax County to not enforce any unconstitutional law; and

WHEREAS, the Board is aware that General Assembly has expressed its intent, in Section 15.2-915 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, that rules, regulations, and administrative actions “governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof,” other than workplace rules, is an exclusive preserve of State government, and that local law enforcement is the responsibility and preserve of the Sheriff and the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who are independently elected officers under the Virginia Constitution; and

WHEREAS, nevertheless, the Board wishes to express its sentiments, together with the sentiments of the Halifax County community as a whole, with regard to this important matter, and its continuing intent to take lawful action to protect these important rights.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BYTHE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF HALIFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA, AS FOLLOWS:

1. Halifax County is hereby declared a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, 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, is part of the fabric of the community since before the foundation of the Republic, and is and must be respected and celebrated; and

2. Halifax County urges the General Assembly, the United States Congress, and other agencies of State and Federal government not to adopt, accept, or enact any provision, law, or regulation that may infringe, have the tendency to infringe, or place any additional burdens on the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms; and

3. Halifax County expresses its intent to continue to take lawful actions to protect and support the rights of its citizens to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the United States and Virginia Constitutions; and

4. Halifax County opposes, in particular, any provision, law, or regulation that may impose additional regulatory burdens on its citizens or result in mandates, whether mandatory or practical, to expend additional public funds on enforcement or administration of such laws, or to require the constitutional officers of the locality to do so; and

5. The County Administrator is directed to cause true copies of this resolution to be forwarded to the County’s representatives in the General Assembly and the United States Congress, together with the Chairmen or Presidents of each chamber therein; and

6. This resolution is effective upon adoption.




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Comments

So it is "customary" with Board meetings that no guns are allowed. So what you are inferring is that it is not in code that says guns are not allowed, correct? Becuase if it is not in code that guns are not allowed then they are allowed. Customs & customary has zero to do with law.

Comments

I do not believe that it is customary at all to inhibit law abiding citizens from having firearms in any county public building. This appears to be the result of a court order declaring the entire Mary Bethune Complex a "courthouse" due to the temporary court room housed there during the actual courthouse renovation. If not for this court order the State of Virginia at least currently has a preemption law that prohibits just such rules. This same court order makes it difficult to conduct business with the various county offices in the building. At least one unintended consequence of this order is causing firearms to be left in vehicles while interacting with the county. Certainly firearms are much safer when under the direct control of law abiding citizens and not available for criminals to steal from unguarded vehicles.

Comments

https://spectator.org/gun-confiscation-comes-to-virginia/
Good night citizen.

Comments

Good news is once you turn them in you'll eventually get a nice shiny new chair.

https://www.citizenfreepress.com/breaking/this-could-be-your-future-westerner/

Comments

We also need to get Fred and Tracey on board. Putting in writing that they will not enforce, arrest or charge anyone under these new (if passed) unconstitutional laws. One good thing at the end of the tunnel is the case before the supreme court today, might make any law passed by the commie DemocRATS void!


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