All across the state of Virginia a sanctuary movement is exploding – this one designed to protect the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. A resistance movement, centered in rural portions of the state, is demanding that local jurisdictions refuse to comply with gun control laws passed by the state legislature in Richmond. In the past two weeks, multiple counties in the southwest part of Virginia have passed resolutions, which, in effect, challenge the state to come and get their guns.
The uprising in Virginia follows on a similar wave of actions seen in the western parts of the United States last year, in which law enforcement officers announced they would refuse to enforce firearms restrictions they regarded as unconstitutional. In that movement 25 of 33 counties in New Mexico declared themselves to be 2nd Amendment sanctuaries. In Illinois two-thirds of the state’s counties have followed suit.
The 2nd Amendment sanctuary concept is clearly modeled on that of sanctuary cities that have declared themselves safe havens for illegal immigrants all over the country. In the United States there are now hundreds of jurisdictions, which refuse to enforce federal immigration laws, and which prevent their law enforcement personnel from cooperating with federal authorities enforcing such laws.
On its face, the concept of a 2nd Amendment sanctuary would appear to be fundamentally different. Cities, counties and states refusing to enforce federal immigration law do not really have any legally sound argument on which to base their actions. There is no constitutional right for individuals who have entered the country illegally to remain here. These jurisdictions then are simply engaged in massive civil disobedience, opting out of enforcing duly enacted laws of the United States.
A 2nd Amendment “sanctuary” is, legally, a fundamentally different thing. The refusal to enforce restrictive “gun control” legislation is based on the fundamental principle that no law, state, federal or local, can violate the Constitution of the United States. Any law, which does so, is on its face unconstitutional and null and void.
The 2nd Amendment is not a privilege. It was not created by statute. It is a right – reserved to the people at the founding of the republic. Nor is the 2nd Amendment permission to keep a firearm for self-defense, target practice or hunting. The 2nd Amendment is a clear, unambiguous declaration that an armed citizenry is the best possible protection against tyranny and injustice.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” –2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787
Still, the rise of 2nd Amendment “sanctuaries” ought to give us pause. A citizenry that is, in effect, rebelling against the state legislature is sending a very strong signal. It is telling us that it no longer has confidence in its elected representatives, that it no longer believes its best interests are being served by its government and that it feels threatened by the government that is, in theory, elected there to protect it.
The Democratic Party set loose some time ago forces, which are now threatening to tear this country apart. In the interest of gaining electoral advantage, it encouraged illegal immigration, the flaunting of immigration laws and the destruction of safeguards at the polls designed to ensure that only those legally entitled to vote did so. In the streets it cheered on thugs and rabble rousers who attacked free speech and shouted down anyone opposing them.
Most damaging of all, the Democratic Party set itself on a course fully three years ago to overturn the results of a free and fair election, to delegitimize and depose a sitting President and to weaponize the press in what amounts to a cultural war. A nation, which for two-hundred years had prided itself on the peaceful transfer of power and respect for the results of the electoral process was suddenly treated to the spectacle of Democratic party operatives and their allies within the permanent government attempting to stage a coup and replace the man the people chose to lead them. Those efforts continue to this day.
The bill for all this is now coming due. There is a price to be paid for adopting a “win at all costs” approach to politics. The people have been dissatisfied with the performance of their government for a very long time. This now is something fundamentally different. Increasingly, the people do not trust their government and believe they must take matters into their own hands.
At the end of this road, if we are not careful, something terrible awaits. Benjamin Franklin said, following the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, that we had a democracy “if we could keep it.” It is time to show that we intend to and return to respect for the principles of democratic rule.
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