So much has been written about the 2nd Amendment Sanctuary movement that most of our heads are spinning. Some of us are still trying to figure out how this is possible and why so extreme. This is underscored by what recently happened in Texas where, were it not for a church's security leader, many more than two people could well be dead.
Because of puzzlement, this blurb will focus on what seems to limit what the General Assembly is attempting to do contrary to what they seem intent upon doing.
The US Constitution is quite clear when it states "…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Justice Clarence Thomas once characterized the 2nd Amendment as a "constitutional orphan". Rather, it's probably the reason we still have the rights we do.
The Virginia Constitution essentially echoes this right.
The Fourteenth Amendment similarly says that "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." And the 14th Amendment (Privileges and Immunities Clause) placed the enforcement power with Congress – not the states. The fantastic 14th, via McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, makes the individual right to keep and bear arms enforceable against state and local officials.
Under some of the pre-filed legislation, think restrictions on types of guns beyond what already exists; think Red Flag laws where a misheard comment can wipe away your rights.
What about gun confiscation? "Fear-mongering" accuse supporters of gun control legislation. Wonder what Pittsburg residents thought about ordinances that provided for confiscation of firearms without due process? (America's 1st Freedom, p. 48)
A favorite is a Federal statute: Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242: Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law. This reads in part, "Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the U.S. Constitution or laws of the United States…shall be fined…or imprisoned" and if death to a protected person occurs, the penalty can be death.
An excellent response to Attorney General Herrings'
official advisory opinion issued December 20, 2019
was offered by the Gun Owners of America, titled simply "Response to Virginia Attorney General's Advisory Opinion Regarding Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolutions". It's on-line and goes into some of our Founding Fathers' rationale. The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 focuses on "whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void and of no force".
Our own James Madison, in the Virginia Resolution of 1798 , wrote that the state [and thus each citizen who comprises such state] "have the right, and are in duty bound to interpose for arresting the progress of evil [to maintain] …the authorities, rights and liberties, appertaining to them."
In Virginia, we also have lots of laws that emphasize our rights. HB 1160, passed in 2012, allows no use of the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force from knowingly aiding in the detention of any citizen …on any matters in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, any provision of the Code of Virginia, …or any regulation of the Virginia Administrative Code.
The 2nd Amendment Sanctuary movement, as of this writing involving 114 localities (and most of the map of Virginia) established that our counties, etc. acted in good faith when they passed these resolutions because "a subordinate level of government has the authority and, indeed, the responsibility, to refuse to cooperate with a higher level of government when the higher government enact a law which violates the Constitution of the United States." (GOA Response)
We have legal standing as citizens (and voters) of the United States despite what AG Herring might say (since he routinely uses "independent judgment" when deciding whether or not to uphold his oath of office).
We need to COMMUNICATE our feelings if this is an issue of importance to us, and indeed if we are truly a NATION OF LAWS and believe the U.S. Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, we need to write, text, e-mail, fax, and call or any other manner of legal expression.
The stakes go beyond the 2nd Amendment. There are some really weird laws being proposed, clearly not in our best interests, and we need to be ready for a rough ride in the next months. (As of 12/29, bills that were pre-filed included 220 House bills (plus Joint and House Resolutions) and 181 Senate bills.)
Your country really needs you.