Apparently, Fauquier County is considering jumping wholeheartedly into “the culture wars.” An article in the Nov. 27 Fauquier Times reported that our county board of supervisors is weighing whether to designate Fauquier County as a Second Amendment sanctuary. The designation of a sanctuary zone is, in and of itself, a political statement. What is to come next you may ask -- a designation of Fauquier as an “immigration safety zone” or, in the spirit of tolerance, advertising the county as a “LBGTQ sanctuary zone” or even perhaps “a right to life” sanctuary?
Of course I support the Second Amendment but I also support the First Amendment as well as the other amendments to the Constitution. My support for the First Amendment, for example, does not mean that I endorse hate speech or support the right to cry fire in a crowded theater. The amendments are not absolute. This proposed designation would treat the second as such. Sheriff [Bob] Mosier was correct in stating that this needs to go to state lawmakers.
I personally have no problems with citizens possessing weapons for self-protection or to engage in sporting pursuits and activities, including hunting. Nonetheless, I oppose an absolute blanket endorsement of the Second Amendment. Sadly, we have become a nation of unparalleled gun violence. Since 1966, mass shootings have killed more than 1,196 persons. This appalling number does not include the thousands of other gun-related deaths in our society which are occurring every day.
Common sense and protection of the citizens of this county and nation have to be considered in any Second Amendment debate, especially considering the wholescale daily bloodshed. A person has to possess a license in order to drive, a license to fish and a license, which acts as a safety check, in many of our day-today endeavors. To countenance the sale of deadly weapons at gun shows, for example, without requiring a background check is irrational and is an act of complicity in any resulting violence. (All one has to do is check the statistics of the origin of many of the guns used in D.C. in acts of deadly violence.) Allowing the sale of military assault weapons to the public at large is another ill-considered action. (Look no further than Virginia Tech.)
Many would argue that these gun actions are not absolute and should not be protected by the Second Amendment as such.
The senseless gun slaughter in America is not just limited to one venue. Our schools are not safe -- witness the 27 deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, of which 20 of the dead were first-graders, or the Marjory Stoneman High School killings in Parkland, Florida resulting in 17 deaths.
There is no safe zone. Military bases are at risk, witness the recent killings at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola which occurred three days ago, or the killings at The Washington Naval Yard in DC on Sept. 16, 2013, where 12 persons died.
There is no sanctuary zone against gun violence, be it movie theaters or grocery stores.
Family restaurants are not safe, and churches are no exception. Workplace killings are so commonplace as to beg description.
The madness doesn’t stop.
No one likes to read of the gun killings, no one likes to hear of the pain and suffering of the victims or be compelled to consider the ripples of anguish which spread out among the extended family after a loved one’s violent death. No one wants to contemplate the death of a child from gun violence, much less see their smiling pictures. It is far more comforting to ignore it, not to think of root causes, to get mired in the rhetoric of alleged unrestricted “rights.”
Yet having the Fauquier Board of Supervisors designate this county, a political entity, a Second Amendment sanctuary in order to show support for gun ownership rights is an endorsement of a minority political belief that is myopic, a disservice to our friends, family and fellow citizens and places our children at risk.
Arthur von Keller IV