As Gun Rights Advocates Rally in VA, What are Second Amendment Sanctuary Cities?
“We’ve gotten past the symbolic stage. We’re standing up for ourselves,” said Bryan Kibler who coined the term Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
Since the Virginia state legislature changed to become Democrat-controlled in the last election the state has begun to implement strict gun control laws. And there are more laws on the way, state Democrats have said, including laws that ban certain “assault” weapons and some that allow for gun confiscation.
In response to the new laws many cities, towns and municipalities have created what they call “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” These Second Amendment sanctuary cities are based on the same premise as sanctuary cities for immigrants – in that, they are passing legislation that would encourage not cooperating with new or existing law.
And Virginia is not alone. There have been more than 400 municipalities in 20 states that have become “sanctuaries” for gun owners, according to a report by The Trace.
What Are Second Amendment Sanctuaries?
The term was first coined by Effingham County, Illinois state’s attorney Bryan Kibler when he told the AP in May of 2018, “We’re just stealing the language that sanctuary cities use.”
“The newer, Second Amendment type of sanctuary refers to a city, town, or county that has adopted a resolution rejecting the enforcement of state or federal gun laws perceived to violate the Second Amendment. Targeted regulations commonly include red flag laws, universal gun background checks, and bans on assault-style weapons,” The Trace wrote.
“The specific language used in Second Amendment resolutions varies from place to place. Some are more general declarations in support of Second Amendment rights, while others specify how a community will withhold support for state or federal gun law,” the Trace added.
It also comes down to sheriffs who simply say they are not going to enforce these new laws.
“We’ve gotten past the symbolic stage. We’re standing up for ourselves,” Kibler said of the Illinois sanctuaries in an interview with Rolling Stone.
No Legal Standing
Former acting assistant attorney general for national security Mary B. McCord said that the sanctuaries have no legal binding.
“State constitutions, statutes and common law generally affirm the ‘supremacy’ of federal and state law, meaning that local jurisdictions are preempted from enacting conflicting ordinances and resolutions,” McCord told the Washington Post.
But even without the force of law, municipalities have decided that they will not fund the enforcement of the law, which they say is “unconstitutional.”
If local law enforcement refuses to fund the enforcement of such laws it will be incredibly tough for the states to enforce them.
Virginia Gun Protest
On Monday pro-gun rights demonstrators marched in Virginia to demand an end to the laws they claim violate their rights. In anticipation of the rally, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency citing, what he said were, “credible” threats.
“We have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“Please know that we have been preparing extensively to protect public safety at Monday’s rally. But no one wants another incident like the one we saw in Charlottesville in 2017,” he said.
But the rally was peaceful as protesters recited the Second Amendment together and chanted slogans like “we will not comply.”
“If they can come for your guns in Virginia, they can come for them in West Virginia,” protester Annette Parker said to Fox News.
Other protesters took offense to many in government and media saying that Monday’s protest was going to be a Nazi and white supremacist rally.
“It’s the Democrats,” Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave said. “It’s almost like they want something to happen. It sounds crazy, but they keep doing it and you have to start wondering if that’s intentional.”