The Virginia National Guard has now responded after a Democratic congressman from the state suggested the governor could use them to enforce new gun-control measures.
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, on Friday responded to Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), who said last week that Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) might have to call in the National Guard if counties in the Old Dominion refuse to uphold any new gun-control legislation.
“We have received multiple questions regarding proposed legislation for the 2020 General Assembly session and the authority of the Governor of Virginia to employ the Virginia National Guard in a law enforcement role,” Williams said in a statement posted to the official Virginia National Guard Twitter account.
“We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights. We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard,” he continued.
We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights. We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard.
— Va. National Guard (@VaNationalGuard) December 13, 2019
Later in his statement, Williams encouraged people to “be patient” while legislators work and said the National Guard had not received any requests from Northam. Williams also warned personnel not to “engage in any political activity while in a uniformed status,” but said they could share their opinions with elected officials.
After Northam proposed additional gun-control measures in Virginia, more than 70 counties passed resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries. Northam then offered a “grandfather clause” to his proposal, suggesting that current owners of modern sporting rifles (referred to by gun-control activists as “assault weapons”) would be able to keep their weapons. That didn’t stop more than a dozen additional counties from becoming Sanctuaries.
Northam on Tuesday responded to the counties with a veiled threat of “consequences” for counties that don’t follow the laws he proposed.
“If we have constitutional laws on the books and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be consequences, but I’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it,” Northam told a reporter after saying there wouldn’t be an “retaliation” against the counties.
McEachin went a step further later in the week, suggesting the counties could lose state funding if they don’t go ahead with the governor’s gun confiscation demands.
“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’ attorney’s offices are not going to have the money to prosecute because their prosecutions are going to go down,” McEachin said.
He then made a comment about calling in the national guard:
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.
Northam has declared his proposals to take people’s guns away as Constitutional, claiming he is not confiscating weapons. Virginia gun owners aren’t buying it, and Northam can’t make that determination. His proposals, if passed into law, will certainly be challenged, and a court will decide their constitutionality.