In response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D-VA) proposed ban on modern sporting rifles, which gun-control activists call “assault weapons,” more than 80 counties in the Old Dominion have passed Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions to protect gun owners. For the record, there are 95 counties total in Virginia.
After many of these resolutions were passed, Northam offered to add in a “grandfather clause” that would exempt current “assault weapon” owners from having to give up their guns as part of a government confiscation. Earlier this month, Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky told The Virginia Mercury in a statement that current gunowners could keep their weapons if they registered them with the state.
“In this case, the governor’s assault weapons ban will include a grandfather clause for individuals who already own assault weapons, with the requirement they register their weapons before the end of a designated grace period,” Yarmosky said in the statement. “Additional details on this and all other bills will be announced prior to the start of the upcoming session.”
As Cam Edwards reported over at Bearing Arms, this appeasement did not stop nearly two dozen more counties from becoming Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
Northam then responded to the growing number of counties passing Sanctuary resolutions with what Edwards called a “veiled threat.” On Tuesday, WTKR reported, Northam was asked by a reporter if the governor’s office would retaliate against counties who had passed the resolutions. Northam responded: “There’s not going to be retaliation. That’s not what I’m about. I’m about making Virginia safer.”
But, Northam continued, there would be “consequences.”
“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 then declared that the laws he has proposed are all Constitutional and that “We’re not going to take people’s guns away.” Northam cannot make the determination that the laws are Constitutional. Their constitutionality is in doubt and will certainly be challenged. The courts will then decide whether they are Constitutional or not. Northam does not have the authority to do so himself. From Edwards:
Threatening counties with punishment for not enforcing unenforceable and unconstitutional laws makes it clear that anti-gun Democrats in Virginia are far more interested in targeting legal gun owners than gang members and drug dealers in the state. Rep. Donald McEachin may want Northam to call out the National Guard to enforce gun control laws in rural counties with low crime rates, but they’d be better off patrolling the streets of Petersburg, Virginia in McEachin’s congressional district.
That city has Virginia’s highest violent crime and homicide rates, but instead of supporting targeted enforcement of the most violent offenders in Petersburg, McEachin and his anti-gun colleagues have made the state’s law-abiding gun owners their top priority.
Northam may try to claim he would not retaliate, but his statement about “consequences” certainly made it clear there may be retaliation, whether he decides to call it that or not.