The Chincoteague Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to become a second amendment sanctuary city. Chincoteague joins dozens of other towns and counties across Virginia to chime in on what is perceived to be a threat by the state to infringe on customary second amendment rights. Democrats in Richmond have made it known that they intend to introduce legislation that will strengthen gun control laws in the state.
The issue virtually positions urban districts, where such legislation is desired, against rural areas in which hunting and recreational shooting activities are traditional. Residents in rural areas also argue that gun possession can save lives being that police response time in these parts of the state is much slower than in urban areas.
Governor Northam promised what he calls “common sense gun control laws.”
Ironically the local decisions may put Senator Lynwood Lewis in the center of negotiations to come up with legislation that will satisfy gun control Democrats but at the same time fall short of confiscating or outlawing certain types of weapons. Lewis represents both rural Accomack and Northampton counties and urban areas of Norfolk. Even though Democrats now control the legislature by a narrow margin, passage of Northam’s recommendations may hinge on delegates and senators whose districts include rural areas which oppose the strict proposals.
Proponents of gun control say the laws will curtail gun violence and mass shootings. Opponents of stricter gun laws say that the proposed gun control legislation will do nothing to quell gun violence because it will in essence make criminals out of law abiding citizens. They say that criminals have no regard for the law and will obtain weapons regardless of what is passed in Richmond. It is estimated that there are over four hundred million fire arms in the United States. Opponents also say that areas of the country like Chicago and other urban areas have the strictest gun laws but also experience the most gun violence. They cite a recent incident in a Texas church in which a trained armed member of the church stopped a shooter in the sanctuary which had over 200 attendees. The shooter killed two individuals before being killed. They say that many more deaths would have occurred if the armed guard had not responded.
Opponents and proponents of stricter gun laws urge individuals to contact their Delegate and Senator to express their opinions.
If the proposed legislation makes it through the Democratically controlled House of Delegates and Senate, the sanctuary resolutions will not have any legal status. Law enforcement officials are required by law to enforce the laws passed by the legislature.
Even though Democrats now control the legislature by a narrow margin, passage of Northam’s recommendations may hinge on delegates and senators whose districts include rural areas which oppose the strict proposals.
The debate on gun control in Virginia and around the country has focused in particular on assault-style rifles like AR-15s that have been used in mass shootings. Some initial pieces of Virginia legislation filed by Democrats that would outlaw AR-15-style rifles have not included any “grandfather” clauses allowing current owners of the popular rifle to keep them.
But Northam and other top Democrats in Virginia have said they don’t want to confiscate guns.
Northam and state Democratic legislative leaders held their a press conference yesterday to outline their top priorities for the session that opens Wednesday.
The governor used his speech to rebut what he called “misinformation” that has spread about gun control measures newly empowered Democrats have pledged will pass.
“We have no intention of calling out the National Guard. We’re not going to cut off people’s electricity. We’re not going to go door to door and confiscate individuals’ weapons,” Northam said.
His comments came after The Washington Post published a story earlier in the week highlighting some of the rumors being spread by far-right websites and commentators, including a blog post that claimed Northam planned to cut electricity, phones and internet to thwart gun supporters.
“Saying things like that we’re going to cut off people’s electricity – I don’t know where things like that come from” Northam said.