Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan:— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 20, 2020
“If the bills go through as proposed, they will not be enforced. They are unconstitutional.” pic.twitter.com/Id6hsyWt8j
After the peaceful and clean pro-gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia state legislators say they plan to enact gun control laws anyway. An estimated 22,000 or more gun-rights protesters rallied on and around the capitol on Monday.
“I was prepared to see a whole lot more people show up than actually did and I think it’s an indication that a lot of this rhetoric is bluster, quite frankly,” said anti-gun activist Chris Hurst reports ABC 13.
In light of their plans to push forward with a long list of anti-gun legislation, cities and counties all across Virginia say they will not enforce any of the new laws, with leaders and sheriffs declaring their jurisdictions “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
One person was charged with violating a prohibition on face coverings on Lobby Day. Mikaela E. Beschler, 21, was charged with wearing a mask in public. There were no other charges or conflicts.
After the protest, rallygoers stayed behind to clean up the area. “We want to show an example to everyone else,” said Elyas Christley to CBS 6. “This is how you protest peacefully.”
“We are going to package this up and put it in [Governor] Ralph Northam’s mailbox,” Christley added.
Speaking at the rally, Culpeper Sheriff Scott Jenkins said he will evaluate the news laws (if passed) to interpret their constitutionality himself before acting on or enforcing any of them.
“I’m the first, and I might be the only sheriff who said from the beginning, my intent was [not] to not enforce laws duly enacted, my intent was to swear in thousands of deputy sheriffs and make it legal for them to possess weapons that they’re trying to ban and restrict,” said Jenkins to WJLA. “I’m sworn to uphold the Constitution, and that’s what I intend to do.”
“If the bills go through as proposed, they will not be enforced,” said Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan. “They are unconstitutional. We support upholding the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Virginia. That’s what we will do.”
In advance of the rally, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency to force a ban on carrying weapons in public during Lobby Day. In response many protesters set up just outside the protest area, completely surrounding it.
State Attorney General Mark Herring issued a statement to law enforcement officers on Second Amendment sanctuaries, saying “It is my opinion that these resolutions have no legal effect. It is my further opinion that localities and local constitutional officers cannot nullify state laws and must comply with gun violence prevention measures.”
Some of the proposed new gun control bills include mandatory background checks for all gun transfers, a red flag law, and gun purchasing limits within a 30 day period.
Also following the rally legislators are proposing to criminalize speech criticizing the governor.
“The governor and the leadership of the democrats have declared war on law-abiding citizens and gun owners and their votes today just confirmed that that’s where we’re going,” said Philip Van Cleave, President of Virginia Citizens Defense League.