GRUNDY, Va. — Buchanan County passed a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution to protect gun rights on Dec. 2, and another resolution earlier this week to protect local money and resources from being used to enforce what is deemed unlawful gun legislation.

The Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance was unanimously approved by the board of supervisors Tuesday, making it clear that any unwanted/unlawful state laws passed will not be recognized in Buchanan County.

More than 80 counties in the state are now on board with resolutions to protect gun rights, and in many cases to ban the use of local resources related to the enforcement of new regulations that may be unlawful.

Resolutions around the state were prompted as a result of the November election, when Democrats captured the majority in both the House and Senate. Gov. Ralph Northam, as well as the state attorney general and lieutenant governor are all Democrats, and Northam’s stated intent is to try to pass more gun regulations.

Northam has said dealing with gun violence is a top priority for his administration and he wants to pursue “common sense” gun controls including background checks on all gun sales and trades, a ban on selling assault weapons and the reinstatement of the one handgun a month purchase law.

All counties in this region have passed Second Amendment resolutions as well as the Town of Bluefield, making sure Richmond is receiving the message that legislators should consider carefully residents’ Second Amendment rights.

Buchanan County’s Preservation Ordinance is similar to Tazewell County’s resolution on the reaction to any legislation passed that is deemed unconstitutional, including a ban on spending local funds and resources for enforcement, as well as the intent to go through the court system if needed.

Carroll Branham, chair of the county’s board of supervisors, said residents are supportive of the resolutions, as they have been in most of the other counties, cities and towns around the state.

Branham said he thinks much of the talk about passing new gun laws is a “bunch of rhetoric” and done for political purposes, but he wants to be prepared just in case.

“It is scary what they could do,” he said of legislators, adding that he is not happy with their agenda on guns. “We will continue to work together to be ready to deal with the situation.”

Branham said he expects any laws passed that are questionable would end up in court quickly.

“That we can count on, that the courts will do what they constitutionally should do,” he said. “You can’t go against Second Amendment rights.”

The county also had a special meeting to answer residents’ questions about the resolutions, he said, and to give the county a chance to clear up any misunderstandings about what they are for and to make sure everyone understands that the current gun laws will continue to be enforced.

“We are not trying to subvert any laws,” he said. “We are just saying we will do legally what we can do (related to any new unlawful legislation).”

Turnouts for the Second Amendment meetings have been strong, he added.

The ordinance passed by Buchanan County supervisors says that “no agent, department, employee, law enforcement officer or official of Buchanan County … while acting in their official capacity, shall … participate in any way in the enforcement of any Unlawful Act, as defined herein, regarding personal firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition; or the right to recruit, organize and train a local militia made up of the citizens of Buchanan County.”.

It also says that no assets of the county will be used to “engage in any activity that aids in the commission of an offense relating to an Unlawful Act in connection with personal firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition or the formation recruitment and training of a local militia.”

Reserving the right to organize and train a local militia is emphasized in the ordinance.

The ordinance also says supervisors are “concerned about the passage of any legislation containing language which could be interpreted as infringing upon the rights of the citizens of Buchanan County to keep and bear Arms as well as begin a ‘slippery slope’ of restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Buchanan County.”

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are also quoted in the ordinance.

“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government,” said Jefferson.

Washington said: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence...From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable...the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference- they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.”

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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