Halifax County has joined a growing number of localities passing resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries with a unanimous vote (8-0) by Halifax County Board of Supervisors on Monday before a packed house of approximately 500 gun rights supporters at Mary Bethune gym in Halifax.
Halifax Delegate James Edmunds is proposing legislation in the upcoming General Assembly ses…
Second Amendment Sanctuary refers to resolutions adopted to not expend resources to enforce certain gun control measures perceived to be in violation of the Second Amendment.
Officials in a number of Virginia counties have declared their localities “Second Amendment sanctuaries” or are considering resolutions to that effect.
A parade of 18 citizens, including Halifax Delegate James Edmunds, spoke in favor of a resolution declaring Halifax County a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
Only one speaker was opposed to the measure, Barbara Coleman-Brown, president of the South Boston-Halifax Chapter of the NAACP.
The resolution adopted by the board on Monday conveys the board’s intention to oppose unconstitutional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms through legal means.
The resolution also states the county opposes any additional operational burdens or the expenditures of public funds necessary to implement the enforcement of any rules, regulations or administrative actions which are in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution and or the commonwealth of Virginia, County Administrator Scott Simpson explained.
George Overstreet, a Clover resident, wasn’t one of the residents who spoke before supervisors, but he expressed his concerns Monday night as he waited for the meeting to get underway.
Overstreet said he is most concerned over expansion of gun control laws and stricter gun control measures proposed now by both Democratic Governor Ralph Northam and a Virginia legislature under Democratic control.
“Which side of the door would be the most dangerous — if they go to confiscate firearms or making criminals out of people who aren’t currently criminals?” asked Overstreet.
“The policeman comes to the door and has a warrant saying he needs to do something, he comes at 3 o’clock in the morning, and the man on the other side of the door doesn’t know who he is or why he’s there. It puts him in a terrible position.”
Edmunds, who is proposing a bill that would give those localities that elect to become Second Amendment Sanctuaries immunity from further legislation that erodes gun ownership rights, received thunderous applause when he took the podium.
An outdoorsman and hunter as long as he can remember, Edmunds said most of the proposed bills he’s seen and heard about would “affect our lifestyle and affect us personally. I know you all agree with me by seeing this crowd and the emotion and passion on this issue, and I share it.
“Right now what we’re doing is sending a message to Richmond, sending a message to the governor that we’re not happy, and maybe he’ll realize that at least in rural Virginia he’s stirred up a hornet’s nest and awoken a sleeping giant,” Edmunds added.
Barbara Coleman-Brown, president of the Halifax County-South Boston branch of the NAACP, said she was a gun owner but was against declaring Halifax County a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
“There is no threat to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Coleman-Brown told supervisors.
“This resolution is a thinly veiled attempt to subvert the will of the majority as expressed on Nov. 5 through the election results. We live in a republic, and if we are to respect our civic duty, it is not to subvert but defend the democratic process as responsible law-abiding citizens, not to contrive ways to subvert the ultimate will of the majority.”
“This gun violence doesn’t respect anyone or any place,” she added.
Another speaker, Halifax County resident and Longwood University student Kyle Hyatt, told supervisors that Gov. Ralph Northam’s promotion of extensive gun control is “an invitation to tyranny.”
Tim Hackney asked anyone to look at the large number of people in Chicago who have been shot since January, despite Chicago having some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.
“The right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed upon in the United States of America,” said Hackney.
One speaker told supervisors he moved back to Halifax County to teach his grandchildren how to hunt and fish.
“The United States happens to be 28th in the world for violence. All of Europe is a gun-free zone but has more mass shootings and killings with firearms,” he said.
“Why be subjected to what Northern Virginia wants, Richmond wants and Hampton Roads wants?” he asked supervisors.
Cliff Jones, a Navy veteran, echoed that argument, saying he moved to Virginia to teach his children how to hunt and fish and protect themselves.
Brad Satterfield said it is “awful” when he hears that someone has gone and shot other people. “It’s not a gun issue, it’s a person issue when people lose respect for the lives of others. We need to teach people how to respect others,” said Satterfield.
Tim Moore, who worked with the 4H youth rifle competition team for several years, told supervisors he had been to several competitions with hundreds of youths where nobody was shot, and there was hardly an argument.
“We may lose the opportunity to teach these skills to our youth, and we can teach life skills as well,” said Moore, who urged supervisors to pass the resolution.
ED-1 Supervisor J. T. Davis said two factors drove his decision to support the resolution, including language in the Second Amendment granting U.S. citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
When he was sworn in as a supervisor, he promised to support the Constitutions of the United States and Virginia, according to Davis.
“Those are guiding documents,” said Davis, attending his last meeting as supervisor after announcing his retirement last year.
ED-8 Supervisor W. Bryant Claiborne said when he took his oath he swore to uphold the entire U.S. Constitution, not just the Second Amendment.
Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the legality of any laws addressing gun control rights, Claiborne added.
Wording in the resolution urges the Virginia General Assembly, U.S. Congress and other state and federal agencies “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.
“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 expand additional public funds on enforcement or administration of such laws or to require the constitutional officers of the locality to do so.”
The ordinance becomes effective July 1.