Hundreds of locals push local lawmakers to take action on Second Amendment sanctuary cities

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As local governments continue to propose or enact Second Amendment sanctuaries, a question remains: What is a Second Amendment sanctuary?

Virginia Beach-based attorney Timothy Anderson took to Facebook to explain what it is through videos.

"Sanctuary zones are going to say, 'Fine, we're not going to use our resources,' but that doesn't mean the state can't do it," Anderson told News 3. "It just means the local sheriff's office and local police departments won't use those resources to prosecute those cases."

Second Amendment sanctuaries are a response to the the proposed gun laws filed for the 2020 General Assembly.

Forty-five people signed up to voice their concerns during a Tuesday night meeting, and the majority spoke in support of making Gloucester County a sanctuary.

Most people were gun owners and emphasized their frustration with potentially having their Second Amendment right taken away.

One man said if the Commonwealth passes certain laws restricting gun control, he will leave the state of Virginia.

Another person at the podium said, "Communities like Gloucester are safe because citizens are able to protect themselves from those who have no regard for the law."

Board Member Phillip Bazzani added, "The governor can write a law to take our guns away, but this county will stand up to the governor by this resolution and say we will not abide by that law."

Other in attendance were completely against the idea.

One woman spoke about the importance of the law and the danger that could come if localities start disregarding it.

"The rule of law matters, and this idea of trying to separate from the state I think is ill-advised," she said.

Another resident said she doesn't want to fear for her own safety or her children's safety any longer. She said she's not against guns, but "against the lack of control over them."

Those who spoke against the sanctuary looked ahead to new laws coming to fruition in 2020 by the General Assembly.

After a nearly two-hour long meeting, the Gloucester Board of Supervisors ultimately voted in favor of the majority. Click here to view the full resolution passed by the board.

Click here for full coverage of second amendment sanctuary city efforts.

Southampton County approved its resolution on Monday, Nov. 25, as did the Town of Exmore on Monday, Dec. 2.

“I think that all of us should have the right to defend ourselves, protect our families and our homes and our neighbors," Ray Wamsley, a Gloucester resident, said.

Anderson added that while a municipality may have declared itself a Second Amendment sanctuary, it does not mean complete immunity from the state law. State officials could still prosecute someone.

"It will fall on the state to enforce the laws, and the state police would have to be the primary enforcers," Anderson said. "There would not be enough; there aren’t enough.”

He said a Second Amendment sanctuary declaration does not violate Virginia's Dillon Rule. In this case, the local government is not enacting a new law to go against a state law. The difference is that the municipality recognizes the law but will not use its resources to enforce that law on the local level.

"The law is going to be much different next year," he said. "Where we are today is going to be a substantially different place next year.”

Anderson said he would discuss Second Amendment sanctuaries during Tuesday night's Virginia Beach City Council meeting. The topic was not on the agenda and was brought up during the meeting's public comment portion.

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