2nd Amendment Sanctuary wins approval

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Dec 04, 2019 - 05:21 PM

Photo: Second Amendment supporters came out in large numbers for Tuesday night’s Gloucester Board of Supervisors meeting. Their efforts were not in vain, as the board  unanimously approved designating Gloucester County a Second Amendment Sanctuary. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Second Amendment supporters came out in large numbers for Tuesday night’s Gloucester Board of Supervisors meeting. Their efforts were not in vain, as the board unanimously approved designating Gloucester County a Second Amendment Sanctuary. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Second Amendment loyalists showed up in large numbers Gloucester’s Colonial Courthouse Tuesday night, filling all available seats inside and covering much of the court circle outside, standing shoulder to shoulder in support of a resolution designed to make Gloucester County a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

They were not disappointed.

After public comments that went on for an hour and a half, with over 30 people speaking in favor of the resolution and only four against, the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the resolution, which expresses opposition “to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights under the Second Amendment of the citizens of Gloucester County to bear arms.”

Further, the document resolves to use “legal means at its disposal” to protect those rights, including “through legal action, the appropriation of public funds, and the right to petition for redress of grievances” and to not use public funds of the county to “aid in the unnecessary and unconstitutional restriction of the right(s) … to bear arms.”

Those who spoke in favor of the resolution cited a Constitutional and God-given right to own guns and charged that their rights will be violated if the Virginia General Assembly, which will be under Democratic Party leadership in 2020, passes some of the laws that are being proposed.

They expressed fear that they would immediately become felons if a law were passed banning a wide range of AK-47-style weapons and that the laws being proposed for the upcoming General Assembly are a first step in taking away all guns. They warned that people wouldn’t give up their guns easily, putting deputies in danger if they had to enforce the law by removing firearms from people.

While most of the Second Amendment proponents supported the resolution, two of them said it didn’t go far enough. Wayne Crews said the resolution would make the county a firearms sanctuary in name only, and Larry Cohen said it misses important points, including county ordinances that prohibit the discharge of firearms in certain areas. He said the resolution needed to be “more carefully crafted.”

Chuck Thompson said the proposed state gun laws are “an attack on the entire Bill of Rights,” a violation of the freedom of speech and due process, and “seditious and tyrannical.” He said the county needs to bring legal action against the state because “the Commonwealth has declared itself an enemy of the people” and represents “the rise of the new age of Communist rule.”

Lewis Pierce said, “The Second Amendment exists so an armed militia can defy tyrants like [Virginia Governor] Ralph Northam,” and Bill McDonald said that “if a bad person wants a gun they’ll get it, and you’ll leave innocent people to be victims.” 

Joe O’Connell said that the Bill of Rights is designed to protect the people from the government, and that citizens are needed who “are prepared to take up arms and are willing to fight for their freedom.”

Stanley Breakstead said his career in strategic services had seen him facing down the former Soviet Union, but that he is now confronting a greater domestic threat and has to take a stand.

Cheryl Pavnik said she was fearful that the gun collection her son inherited from his grandfather could be taken away, while Andrew Chavez expressed skepticism that gun laws make people safer and cited the Los Angeles riots and the gunman who killed 54 people in Las Vegas as examples.

Charles Duke said the proposed laws would prevent him from being able to operate his martial arts business, and Marie Bristow said that they would have an impact on her business as an ammunition reloading and supply dealer.

Marianne Nichols said she could put her gun on the podium in front of her “and if I left it for a hundred years, it would not hurt anyone. The gun is not the problem. It’s the person behind it.”

Kimberly Jacks charged that the government “should be fighting the crime, not the crime fighters, and Chris Pickford said he had seen during his military deployments to the Middle East “what takes place when bad people with guns run loose.” He said he wanted “to be able to step up and make sure the good people have guns.”

Seventy-three-year-old Gayle Beamis said that, at a mere 100 pounds, she carries a concealed weapon for protection and that she “will not be afraid and defenseless.”

Sandra Shuck expressed pride in being “a liberty-loving, gun-toting, Bible-thumping patriot.”

The opposition

One of only four people expressing opposition to the resolution, Ella Webster said she was concerned that its passage would expose Gloucester to liability, since intentionally not complying with regulations could invite legal prosecution if a tragedy involving firearms were to occur. She said the effort to resist gun laws “reminds me of nothing so much as mass resistance to school integration. It was a bad look then, and it’s a bad look now.”

“Rule of law matters,” said Webster. “You can fight the law, but trying to separate from the state is ill-advised.”

Sara Troxel said that “our society is based on the rule of law” and that “when we disregard that, there are consequences.” She asserted that the resolution was “a resolution to defy the rule of law,” and she questioned how much a lawsuit would cost the taxpayers if someone were hurt after the county had refused to allow funding for firearms laws to be enforced.

Lindsay Fogarty said that gun laws are keeping her safe and that more laws are needed “so that my kids are not the next ones to be murdered in school.” “I’m not against guns,” she said. “I’m against the lack of control over them.”

James Peters said that it was outside the legal and moral authority of the board of supervisors to pick and choose which laws to enforce and that it was improper for a board member to use his elected office to promote his personal beliefs. “You’re elected to conduct the legitimate business of the county and not be my moral voice,” he said.

Board response

Two of the board members voiced emphatic support of the resolution. Chairman Ashley Chriscoe, who had submitted the resolution for consideration, went so far as to make the motion for approval of the resolution, an unusual action for a board chairman. In making his motion, he said, “In light of the results of the recent election, our second amendment rights are being threatened,” and he described the vote as one “to uphold the constitution.” He said he wanted to send a sign to the state that “the laws you are proposing do not align with the values and beliefs of all Virginians.”

Vice Chair Phillip Bazzani rhetorically asked, “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do the legislators in Richmond and our governor not understand?” He said the Bill of Rights makes the forefathers’ intent clear and that he wanted to send a sign to the “soon to become left wing governor and legislature that we will neither enforce, expend resources or tolerate any infringement of our inalienable Second Amendment rights.” He warned that when the state legislature turns blue, “if you own a gun that carries more than nine rounds…you will run the risk to be tried and convicted as a felon and lose your right to vote, as well.” He said that Democrats will legalize “one-sided gun confiscation” and he expressed fear of “an overbearing tyrannical government.” He charged that “every time a shooting takes place, everyone wants to blame me as a legal gun owner.”

“We are the majority,” said Bazzani emphatically. “But we are the first ones to be punished when things like a shooting occurs because our rights are the ones being taken away.”

Bazzani charged that criminals won’t turn their guns in, but will keep them and use them. He said that “criminals and killers will become the majority under Governor Northam” and that criminals will be able to keep their guns “and they will come to my house and shoot me and I will not have a gun anymore to defend myself when Governor Northam gets his way.”

“Who will stand for the majority?” said Bazzani. “The governor and the Democrats won’t.”

In closing, Bazzani challenged the governor of Virginia.

“Hear this, Governor Northam, you can come and try to take my guns away from me,” he said, “but we, the people, in Gloucester County, will keep our guns, and by god, come hell or high water, this county will ignore you.”

Supervisor Chris Hutson brought some levity in the moments before the vote, saying, “The most controversial thing we’ve had before was whether we could have chickens or not in the county.” He urged those present to take a similar interest in board matters when budget discussions get underway, and we warned that if there are funding issues associated with the resolution “it might have to come out of everyone’s pockets.”

“Elections have consequences,” he said. “When we don’t show up at the polls, that’s what happens.”