Democratic congressmen from Virginia are threatening sheriffs in their state who have warned they will not enforce harsh state-level gun laws that violate Second Amendment rights, suggesting they could be prosecuted if they are unwilling to resign, that their sheriff’s office could lose funding, or most stridently, that the National Guard be called in to enforce the gun-control measures.
In November, the Virginia Democratic party won total control of the General Assembly for the first time in a quarter-century. That enabled them to push gun-control legislation. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw drafted a bill whose summary stated that it:
Expands the definition of “assault firearm” and prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory an assault firearm to any person. The bill also prohibits a person from carrying a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities. The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to import, sell, barter, or transfer any firearm magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he would reintroduce gun control measures, stating, “Getting rid of bump stocks, high volume magazines, red flag laws. These are common-sense pieces of legislation. I will introduce those again in January. And I’m convinced, with the majority now in the House and the Senate, they’ll become law and because of that, Virginia will be safer.”
Speaking of the counties passing Second Amendment resolutions, Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly told the Washington Examiner, “I would hope they either resign in good conscience, because they cannot uphold the law which they are sworn to uphold, or they’re prosecuted for failure to fulfill their oath. The law is the law. If that becomes the law, you don’t have a choice, not if you’re a sworn officer of the law.”
Democratic Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin added the idea of cutting off state funds, asserting, “They certainly risk funding, because if the sheriff’s department is not going to enforce the law, they’re going to lose money. The counties’ attorneys offices are not going to have the money to prosecute because their prosecutions are going to go down.” Then he suggested even more Draconian measures: “And ultimately, I’m not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law. That’s his call, because I don’t know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that’s obviously an option he has.”
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring ripped the counties that had passed Second Amendment resolutions, snapping to CBS News, “The resolutions that are being passed are being ginned up by the gun lobby to try to scare people. What we’re talking about here are laws that will make our communities and our streets safer. So, when Virginia passes these gun safety laws that they will be followed, they will be enforced.”