You’ve heard of sanctuary cities, places where local officials have vowed not to enforce immigration laws or assist the federal government enforce such laws. Now there’s a new kind of sanctuary, one that protects gun owners from increased restrictions on possessing firearms, and it all started in Virginia.
When Democrats took control of the state government, several lawmakers started proposing gun control legislation that includes gun bans, gun registration, expanded background checks, and limits on the size of magazines that hold cartridges. Residents in the historically conservative state took note, as did some county sheriffs, including sanctuary advocate and Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins.
The local officials declared, in a way, that they would not enforce many of the proposed laws, claiming that current restrictions were enough. They see the push for new legislation as unconstitutional, and point out that they have a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution. They’re adopting language that reinforces Constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment.
“It’s an organic thing that just took off after Election Day. Elections have consequences, and this is the result. This has truly rocked the conservative, libertarian group’s core. It has really shook a lot of them awake. They are fully awake.”
As the movement has grown, 86 out of 95 counties across the state, as well as 15 cities and towns, have adopted gun sanctuary language.
Supporters are quick to point out that the sanctuaries cannot overturn or provide a defense against gun laws that are duly passed. Instead, it’s a question of enforcement.
So far, the NRA has remained out of the picture. The cause is growing organically, without a larger organization coordinating the efforts, but it’s finding supporters in other states. While roots of the gun sanctuary push can be traced to Illinois, Virginia has provided the blueprint that can now be found in Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Tennessee.