CULPEPER COUNTY, Va. - The Culpeper County Board of Supervisors will meet on Tuesday at 10 a.m. and on the agenda is a resolution to make Culpeper County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” county, a movement that’s been growing in Virginia, especially after the state house went blue in November.
Governor Ralph Northam called the 2019 state elections “a new day and a new landscape,” telling NPR about the gun control measures he wants to push forward.
The response from his state has included around half a dozen counties to the west and near the southern border, like Wythe and Bland counties, passing Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions in November. FOX 5 is looking into 16 others considering or already passing the push.
The group, Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), has been following this movement up-state, tracking growing support in jurisdictions closer to Washington D.C., like Stafford and Fauquier counties. Philip Van Cleave, the VCDL’s President told FOX 5 over the phone, this movement is like a “tidal wave” headed to the Virginia state legislature. He also says this movement started in other states first. It gained momentum in Virginia around the November 2019 elections.
Online, the VCDL also wrote a draft resolution for counties to follow. Part of the resolution says counties will vote to not use “public funds to restrict Second Amendment rights” of a county resident or help the state or federal government in the “restriction of said rights.”
It’s a message to elected government leaders that the county and its residents do not support gun control, says Culpeper Council Member Jon Russell. Russell tells FOX 5 he’s encouraging people to attend Tuesday’s meeting in support of the resolution.
“We have a very strong gun culture here in Culpeper. A lot of hunters, a lot of people who just use – have weapons for self-defense. People who are collectors and so we just have just a wide variety of people who care very passionately about the second Amendment. So it’s an important issue for us,” said Russell, who also said, “This is going to go to Richmond. It’s going to be a an all-out, I think fight, in the general assembly.”
Russell argues that age restrictions for firearms ownership and usage put in place at the state-level would prohibit parents from teaching kids to shoot. He also wants his family to be able to defend their home with what they already own and not have any of their firearms be taken away because of a ban.
It will be up to the Culpeper Board of Supervisors to revise the resolution, vote on it or reject it, but FOX 5 was told they have been getting lots of calls in support of Second Amendment Sanctuary status.
Downtown, Michael Miller, who was waiting in a line to pay taxes at a county building, told FOX 5 he welcomes the sanctuary status. “I think there are other issues at play rather than just worrying about guns and things like that, so I think it’s an overall balance that needs to be looked at,” said Miller.
Kristen Link, also waiting nearby, told FOX 5 her family owns firearms but she would still like to see some type of gun control pass. “I don’t know I wish people would have more awareness and more safety of it so there’s too many gun shootings now. So I would like to see that go away because that’s just scary to think about,” said Link.
The resolutions are more of a proclamation. It is not a legal ordinance that could change law and state laws would supersede.
While Jon Russell is telling people to go and say “yes.” Donna DeAngelis with an independent group called “Culpeper Persisters,” tells FOX 5 she will be there to tell the Culpeper Board of Supervisors “no.”
DeAngelis told FOX 5 on the phone, she is a gun owner who plans to tell the board in person Tuesday: gun control legislation “is not a limitation on gun ownership, it’s a limitation on assault weapons.”
DeAngelis offered the following statement: