Second amendment sanctuary city meeting shows majority of Staunton residents don’t want it

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:54 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Debate over the second amendment had a lot of people speaking out Thursday night in Staunton. Staunton City Council wanted to hear about second amendment sanctuaries, a designation that would mean the locality would not use city funds to enforce some gun rules or laws.

Ten months after the idea of a second amendment sanctuary city was put to rest in Staunton, a new council majority allowed for a public meeting on the topic.

“Our intention tonight is simply to listen to you the public,” said Mayor Andrea Oakes.

For two and 1/2 hours, city council listened to the public speak both in-person and through Zoom.

“Frankly, this is a hoax and a sham public hearing and we all should be disgraced and embarrassed for it happening here in our city,” said Staunton resident Daniel McCauley.

More than twice as many Staunton residents spoke against the city becoming a second amendment sanctuary city as those for it. Many asked the Council to focus on issues in the city.

“Each of you has taken an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States and the state of Virginia,” said Staunton resident Randolph Burton. “I don’t necessarily like or agree with all of the laws, but I don’t get to pick and choose which ones I have to follow.”

Those in favor of Staunton becoming a 2A sanctuary city talked about the importance of defending themselves and in case the government should become tyrannical.

“We view that, second amendment as the canary in the coalmine. When that canary goes there’ll be nothing to protect us from all our other rights going away with it,” stated President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League Philip Van Cleave.

Some people thanked Mayor Andrea Oakes and city council for giving them the opportunity to talk about the 2nd amendment after having felt silenced earlier in the year.

“Our prior city council and Mayor Dull did not allow this 2A topic to be on the agenda,” said Staunton resident Fritz Fairfield.

But council also received a lot of criticism for having this hearing during a pandemic, right before an election, and without a specific resolution or proposed policy on the table. Some felt this topic only divides instead of creating unity in Staunton.

Augusta County became a second amendment sanctuary city at the end of 2019. Waynesboro held a public hearing but took no action.

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