Fauquier County supervisors are slated to vote tonight on a resolution affirming the board's commitment to the Second Amendment and stating its "strong" opposition to any future state law that might infringe on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
The board released this week a slightly modified version of the original resolution. The measure replaces the words "is concerned about" with "strongly opposes" in this phrase: "the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors strongly opposes the passage of any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights of our citizens" under either the U.S. or Virginia constitutions.
The new resolution also adds a request increased state funding for school resource officers and school security officers.
Like the original resolution, the modified version also calls on the Virginia General Assembly to pass a short list of gun-safety measures. They include: waiving the sales tax on gun safes and gun locks, strengthening penalties for adults who allow children unsafe access to guns, funding firearms safety training in schools and increasing state funding for mental health screening and services.
The measure also states the board’s opposition to any legislation that would restore gun rights to convicted felons.
The Fauquier resolution would not declare Fauquier County a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
The Prince William Board of Supervisors approved a resolution early Wednesday morning to declare Prince William a "constitutional county." Like Fauquier County's resolution, Prince William's does not include the word "sanctuary" and makes no request of local law-enforcement agencies to not enforce new state gun laws. Other "Second Amendment sanctuary" resolutions passed around the state include such a request.
The Prince William supervisors approved their measure in a 6-2 vote after three hours of public testimony in a meeting that drew about 1,000 people.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) said last week that “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions will have “no legal effect whatsoever.” An official opinion from the attorney general is expected in the coming days.
Del. Michael Webert, R-18th, and U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-5th, both have issued statements in support of the sanctuary declarations. Each represent portions of Fauquier.
Webert said in a Nov. 27 news release: “I am happy to see so many counties declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, and I stand fully behind our right to bear arms that are guaranteed to us in the U.S. Constitution and the Virginia Constitution.
“As most of you are aware, the Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions are not legally binding. However, it is vital to send a strong message to Richmond that we, law-abiding citizens, will not be treated like criminals because we possess certain types of firearms and firearm accessories.
“My colleagues and I are currently in the process of drafting a bill that will protect the counties that have passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions and prevent the state from withholding funding from those localities because of their Second Amendment sanctuary designation.”
Webert concluded, “As I have stated previously, I will not entertain emotional policy proposals that seek to undermine our Second Amendment rights and punish law-abiding citizens. I hope you will join me in this fight to protect our freedoms. Sic semper tyrannis.”
Riggleman gave a speech Dec. 5 on the floor of the House of Representatives in which he said, "I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and I am proud to stand with the people that are speaking up for all of us. I support this movement with my whole heart."
State Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-31st, whose district includes parts of both Fauquier and Prince William counties, said she is committed to working with both Fauquier and Prince William counties’ boards of supervisors to address residents’ concerns but stressed that any new laws passed by the incoming Democratic-majority General Assembly will be constitutional.
"I have always respected the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and the laws we will pass in Richmond this next legislative session will be fully compliant with the Virginia and U.S. constitutions,” Guzman said in a statement.
Guzman went on to say that she shares many of the same priorities outlined in Fauquier’s proposed resolution, including the need for additional mental health screening services, strong penalties for adults who allow children unsafe access to firearms and the need to waive the sales tax on gun safes and locks.
“I am heartened that the Fauquier County board and I share many of the same priorities,” Guzman’s statement said. “I agree with [Attorney General] Mark Herring’s statements from last week where he mentioned that second amendment sanctuary resolutions have no legal effect whatsoever.”
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Click here to read the recently revised version of the proposed resolution: