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Gun Rights Groups Hit Back After VA AG Says Second Amendment Sanctuaries Have 'No Legal Effect'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Virginia Defense League and Gun Owners of America, the gun rights group that is spearheading the Second Amendment sanctuary movement in the commonwealth, responded to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's statement that called the sanctuary resolution as having "no legal effect." 

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The VDL and GOA sent a letter to their supporters and urged them to resist any unconstitutional gun control law the General Assembly passes in the new session next year.

"It is apparent that AG Herring and Governor Ralph Northam believe that Virginia localities have a duty to actively assist the Commonwealth in the enforcement of any law enacted by the General Assembly. These officials appear to believe that such blind obedience is required irrespective of whether a law violates the U.S. Constitution, the Virginia Constitution, or is manifestly destructive of the preexisting rights of the People of Virginia," the groups wrote. "This radical view is demonstrably false, and ignores the significance of the fact that local officials are required by law to take an oath to support the federal and state constitutions above the laws enacted by the General Assembly."

The VDL and GOA said Governor Ralph Northam and Herring are wrong in their assessment counties must always implement laws passed since they "have taken exactly the opposite legal position" when it came to sanctuary status for illegal immigrants. 

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Northam vetoed two bills in March that would have banned localities from becoming sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants and would have required law enforcement agency to notify federal authorities if they had illegal immigrants in their custody.

"The safety of our communities requires that all people, whether they are documented or not, feel comfortable, supported and protected by our public safety agencies," Northam said at the time.

"Thus, three times in three consecutive years (2017, 2018, and 2019), Governor Northam used his office to support the right of Virginia’s localities to declare themselves sanctuary cities and counties, refusing to help with the enforcement of federal immigration laws, based on mere policy differences with those federal laws," the gun rights group said.

The VDL and GOA stated there is nothing new with people not obeying illegal and unauthorized government acts, adding, "If necessary, the lower authority may even actively resist the superior authority, since the higher authority is acting illegitimately and unconstitutionally, and without legal authority."

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An overwhelming number of counties in Virginia have declared themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries, promising to not enforce any gun law deemed as unconstitutional.

A few Virginia sheriffs voiced their support for counties becoming gun sanctuaries to Townhall, giving the movement critical backing.

"I am in favor of the Second Amendment Sanctuary. I believe we need to send a message to Richmond that our citizens will take a stance. My deputies and I take an oath to uphold the Constitution and that’s what we will do," said Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie Compton.

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