The clash in Virginia over gun control has reached a new level, with proponents of a gun “sanctuary” movement urging active resistance to Democratic proposals in Richmond, citing the arguments that led to the American Revolution.
“Resistance to illegal and unauthorized government acts is not new,” said two leaders of the movement in noting the decisions by the Founding Fathers to sign the Declaration of Independence that challenged Great Britain and King George III.
“This doctrine is, in fact, foundational to our form of government. Indeed, the Declaration of Independence is a document of interposition, between the American colonists and a tyrannical King George III. Its signatories — the people’s representatives — pledged to one another ‘our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor,’ believing that they most likely would be tried and executed for treason against the crown,” said the new memo from the Virginia Citizens Defense League and the Virginia-based Gun Owners of America Inc.
Their 12-page memo was both in defense of the state gun sanctuary movement that has been adopted by 114 counties and communities and a challenge to the opinion of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring that the sanctuaries have “no legal effect.”
The movement sweeping Virginia has in less than two months become the national model for fighting gun control. In November, the Democrats took control of the state legislature and, backed by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, have offered several gun control proposals.
In reaction, gun owners have flooded into county and city meetings to demand that their representatives approve sanctuary resolutions to ignore gun control laws, similar to how immigration sanctuary resolutions work.
“Should the government in Richmond act lawlessly, then local officials and the people they represent will not cooperate and may take steps to actively resist,” said the letter.
Herring last week issued an opinion that the resolutions have no legal effect. What’s more, he said that local governments must give in to the state government.
“All localities, local constitutional officers, and other local officials are obligated to follow duly enacted state laws,” he wrote. “It is my opinion that these resolutions have no legal effect,” he added.
The sanctuary leaders, however, called the potential Virginia gun control laws a violation of the Second Amendment and cited Revolutionary War-era heroes who fought oppressive control.
Their letter said, “The U.S. Constitution and the Virginia Constitution are the statements of the will of the people themselves, and the compacts from which the Virginia legislature draws its authority. Should the Virginia General Assembly, along with the Virginia governor or attorney general, enact and attempt to enforce a law which is prohibited by Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or Article I, Section 13 of the Virginia Constitution, and the pre-existing, inalienable rights of the people, then such law is of no legitimacy — and void. In response, local government officials who have sworn an oath to uphold the federal and state constitutions unquestionably have the inherent power — and the duty — to refuse to enforce such unconstitutional laws, and even to protect the people against enforcement.”
The two groups also noted that Northam and Herring have in the past ignored mandates.
The movement plans to expand its local and county fight to the capital in Richmond in January when the legislature plans to take up gun control measures.
The groups have made plans to drive dozens of full buses to the capital on Jan. 20 for a lobbying day.
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