Virginia Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties Non-Binding

November 24, 2019

A lot is being made of the number of counties in Virginia that have started declaring themselves "Second Amendment sanctuaries". It is nice to see that Virginia localities are announcing their support for the Second Amendment; however, the unfortunate reality of these declarations is that ultimately they are non-binding and amount to mainly a lot of "fist-shaking" at the anti-gun crowd.

While these declarations are largely without teeth, it is still a great sign of hope that many areas of Virginia aren't going to give up their second amendment freedoms without a fight. And everyone in Virginia is encouranged to attend these meetings, contact your board of supervisors, and make your voices heard.

The language in the declarations suggest that if the state passes anti-gun laws considered unconstitutional by the locality, then the locality isn't required to enforce the law.

There are, as of this writing, 12 counties in Virginia that have passed this type of declaration. They are:

  • Appomattox
  • Campbell
  • Caroll
  • Charlotte
  • Dickenson
  • Dinwiddie
  • Giles
  • Lee
  • Nottoway
  • Patrick
  • Pittsylvania
  • Sussex

The wonderful Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has the full list along with a huge list of other counties that may join the 12 above very soon.

In a recent article from ABC (WHSV) reporting of the declaration by Giles and Dinwiddie counties there is an explanation regarding the non-binding nature of these declarations:

To counter possible gun control laws, the concept of becoming a "Second Amendment sanctuary" means that a county expresses its intent that its public funds not be used to restrict Second Amendment rights. The resolutions aren't legally binding, but put forth a public stance on behalf of counties.

This movement from Virginia's counties to become "Second Amendment sanctuaries" is noble and very much a worthwhile effort to demonstrate to state lawmakers that Virginians aren't about to roll over and let their constitutionally protected gun rights be infringed upon. However, unfortunately, it is unlikely to stop the anti-gun lawmakers from actually doing it in the next legislative session.

Indeed, the first gun control bill has already been filed (according the ABC-WHSV article linked above) for universal background checks in Virginia.