Recently, Virginia became an example of how district manipulation and gerrymandering can disenfranchise large areas of conservatives. And the result was that all branches of government in the state are now controlled by radical democrats.
One of the first items on the agenda for liberals is the infringement of the Second Amendment. However, citizens in Virginia are standing up and fighting back. In Chesapeake, over 1,000 people showed up to a City Council meeting in support of turning the town into a Second Amendment Sanctuary, and across the state, the Culpeper County Sheriff has vowed to deputize citizens in order to protect their Constitutional right.
A line of around 1,200 people led from the steps of Chesapeake’s city hall, past the building and into a nearby parking lot.
Bright orange “Guns SAVE Lives” stickers adorned the shirts of nearly every person standing in the line and three men stood in front of the building holding Gadsden flags printed with “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Their efforts were rewarded when Chesapeake City Council members unanimously voted to designate the city as a “Second Amendment Constitutional City” — a symbol of support for protecting gun rights. The vote occurred just before 10:30 p.m Tuesday.
Chesapeake is the first city in South Hampton Roads to take action on such a resolution.
After the approval, the crowd in the chamber gave the council a standing ovation with cheers, claps and whistles.
Mayor Rick West and Councilmen Robert Ike and Stephen Best were the only members who spoke before the vote and vowed to protect the citizens’ constitutional rights.
Gun rights supporters have approached more than 50 cities and counties in Virginia, asking local governments to pass resolutions stating that public funds will not be used to limit gun rights allowed by the Second Amendment.
The efforts — which seem largely symbolic [Some argue], as it would be illegal for local officials to refuse to enforce state laws — are a reaction to recent elections that handed control of both houses of the General Assembly to Democrats for the first time in decades, paving the way for gun control measures that were blocked by Republicans.
Seventy people, including residents of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Suffolk, spoke during the public comment period of the meeting.
The council took two breaks over the period which ended just after 10 p.m. and West asked speakers to keep their comments within two minutes, not applaud and refrain from repeating comments others made.
Only about 300 people were allowed into the council chambers by city fire marshals. The rest watched from a live feed in the lobby and outside of the building.
Fewer than 10 people spoke against the resolution. They asked the city to consider the rise of gun violence and safety of schools. One Chesapeake high school student said residents did not need to use AR-15 assault rifles to protect themselves, drawing some boos from the crowd.
The rest of the speakers urged the city to protect citizens’ Second Amendment rights and make a strong statement of gun rights support to the General Assembly. Many said they were afraid of becoming “felons overnight” if Senate Bill 16, which would prohibit the sale and possession of “assault firearms” and magazines, was passed.
Cheers from the people watching a video feed from outside the building could be heard at several points during the meeting.
Meetings elsewhere in the area were also packed.
Around fifty people with the same orange “Guns SAVE Lives” stickers filled Norfolk’s City Council chambers Tuesday.
Eight speakers asked the council to take steps to protect gun owners from the potential new laws, drawing applause from the crowd.
In a post-election blitz, gun rights advocates have flooded local council and board meetings. Speakers turned out Tuesday night at meetings in Portsmouth, Newport News and James City County as well.
At least 20 Virginia localities, including Gloucester County, have passed resolutions in recent weeks saying they would oppose new state gun laws and refuse to use public funds to restrict Second Amendment rights.
The same night Gloucester approved its resolution, hundreds turned out to Virginia Beach’s City Council meeting. So many were in attendance last week in Virginia Beach that crowds gathered on the sidewalks outside City Hall when they couldn’t cram into the council’s chambers.
Prior to the Chesapeake’s meeting, city resident Jennifer Barnes, 45, looked around at the crowd and growing line of people that had gathered outside of the building. She wasn’t counting on being able to get into the council chambers but said she wanted to support Second Amendment rights by showing up.
“We’re local farmers. We hunt and we have to protect the livestock on our farms and guns are important to us,” she said, adding that the bills would infringe on gun owners’ rights.
Barnes said she understands the concerns of those who want tighter gun control and restrictions, but believes that passing a law to restrict gun ownership is not the answer.
Another Chesapeake resident, Lindsay Sarkis, 66, said she is most concerned about Senate Bill 16.
“If you take all our guns away, you’re defenseless. The criminals are watching this, too. We’ll have no way to defend ourselves,” she said. “The criminal is always going to have a gun or a way to get a gun. It’s not the gun (that’s the issue.) It’s the person holding the gun.”
Gary Pieroni, a 64-year-old Chesapeake resident, said passing legislation would not mean anything to criminals.
“It puts the law-abiding citizen at a disadvantage,” he said. “What’s next?”
One Sheriff understands completely the risk of limiting the Second Amendment. Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins vowed during a Board of Supervisors meeting last week, that he would deputize residents in the county, in order to thwart any state legislature move to control gun rights.
At the meeting, the panel unanimously agreed to declare the county a Second Amendment Constitutional County.
“Every Sheriff and Commonwealth Attorney in Virginia will see the consequences if our General Assembly passes further unnecessary gun restrictions,” Jenkins wrote on Facebook before the meeting.
“I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms,” he added.
A number of counties in the state have passed similar resolutions in response to expected gun control legislation. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said his party will push for gun control measures since it regained control of the Virginia General Assembly.
He called a special legislative session in the then-Republican-led legislature in July to address gun violence following a mass shooting in Virginia Beach that ended with 12 people dead. However, the meeting was adjourned after two hours without any action taken.
Jenkins has railed against attempts to enact gun control legislation on his website, where he has advocated for concealed-carry laws and the protection of Second Amendment freedoms.