Augusta County supervisors will not approve plan for militia

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — During their work session on Monday, the Augusta County Board of Supervisors came to a decision after their discussions and legal advice.

Dozens came to the board of supervisors meeting in February to talk about the militia proposal. | Credit: WHSV

"We need to leave it alone," said Gerald Garber, chair of the board. "We have no legal standing to get involved in this and we have no business getting involved in this."

Kauffman said he sees how there could be a place for it, but there would have to be organization.

"There has to be some type of guidelines or rules to where, say I sign up for it, but my main goal is to go out here and stand at the corner and patrol it. That's not what this should be for," Kauffman said.

Garber added they spent a lot of time talking about the proposal before coming to a decision.

"It's a big deal," Garber said. "If you're going to sanction a bunch of people coming together you know armed, you better understand why and what you're going to do and all the ramifications and certainly, number one, the legality."

Garber said they planned to send out a release about their decision in the coming days. Augusta County was not the only area in the valley considering this proposal. It's on the agenda in Rockingham County.

Rockingham County administrator Stephen King said it would not be a public hearing, but someone would be allowed to speak about it. He did not think it would impact the decision, but the board would likely consider the same issues Augusta County leaders did.

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Feb. 12

Community members in Augusta County spoke out at Wednesday's Board of Supervisors meeting in hopes of strengthening the county's Second Amendment Sanctuary status.

Community members want the board to adopt the Virginia 1-13 resolution to create an unorganized militia, which would be similar to what the National Guard does for the state, but at a local level.

It would consist of able-bodied citizens 16 years old to 55. These volunteers would assist in the event of an emergency, and provide services like first aid, as well as food and medical supply delivery.

The resolution would also, in theory, protect members of the militia against stricter gun laws, like the ban on 'assault weapons' which was passed in the House of Delegates on Tuesday.

"The reasoning behind it obviously shouldn't be happening at all. That's the problem. And not only this, but some of the things the legislature is trying to do is going to create problems between good citizens and law enforcement," Gary Pleasants, manager of Dominion Outdoors, said.

Community members said they are happy with the county's decision to adopt a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution, like more than 100 other localities across the state, but they want to take that extra step.

"It tells the legislatures what people are thinking, what they don't want to happen, and they're still pushing forward with it, so it's getting to the point where things like what's going to occur tonight have to occur," Pleasants said.

People from the Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County areas could volunteer for the militia.

After more than 70 people showed up for Wednesday's meeting, the board said it plans to bring up the topic in its next work session to gather more information.