AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — A day after the Page County Board of Supervisors cast a unanimous vote to become the latest Second Amendment sanctuary in Virginia, Augusta County voted on Wednesday night to do the same.
In front of a large crowd, the supervisors voted 7-0 to declare Augusta County a Second Amendment sanctuary.
More than 50 people spoke in support of the resolution, insisting that proposed gun control laws are an infringement on their constitutional rights.
"This is a direct violation of the governor's oath of office to defend the entire constitution, not just what he agrees with," said one supporter Wednesday night. "If this bill passes, the entire state will become a tourist destination for career criminals. the predator will have wounded prey."
The meeting began at 6 p.m. at Stuarts Draft High School to allow for what the county knew would be a packed crowd.
As of 5:50 p.m., a line of people was wrapped around the school building as people waited to get inside, with dozens scheduled to speak.
By 6:50 p.m., after a number of people had spoken, with boos from the crowd following the two people who spoke against the proposal, the Augusta County sheriff confirmed that at least 1,800 people showed up for the hearing.
Similar meetings of other Virginia county boards have broken attendance records, bringing hundreds of people out to their Board of Supervisors meetings.
Page County joined at least 40 other counties and cities across Virginia that have now adopted resolutions declaring themselves 'Second Amendment sanctuaries.'
The movement, which is a conservative spin on 'sanctuary cities,' which vowed not to work with ICE to deport undocumented immigrants, began shortly after the election earlier this month in which Democrats won full control of the General Assembly for the first time in decades.
Many people in areas that voted along conservative lines believe that their constitutional rights may be threatened under a Democratic-controlled legislature.
Not many bills have been filed for Virginia's 2020 session, but ne gun control bill has already been proposed by a Democrat that's created a stir on social media: SB 16, which would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor "to import, sell, barter, or transfer any firearm magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition" and expand the definition of "assault firearm" under Virginia law, prohibiting anyone from possessing a gun that meets the new definition of "assault firearm."
To counter possible gun control laws, the concept of becoming a 'Second Amendment sanctuary' means that a county expresses its intent that its public funds not be used to restrict Second Amendment rights.
The resolutions aren't legally binding, but put forth a public stance on behalf of counties' citizens.
Gun owners in Augusta County have been expressing their hopes for the county to do the same as others since the wave began.
"I'm 100 percent for it. Our Second Amendment was written to protect us against exactly what is happening right now," Jim Wood, store manager of Nuckols Gun Works and firearms instructor for Augusta County, told WHSV.
Wood said many people in the area feel the same way about gun reform as he does.
"Since the election, I haven't talked to or seen one person, and I'm here everyday, haven't seen one person who was in favor, asking what petition they can sign, where they can go and who they need to talk to to make this a Second Amendment sanctuary county," Wood said.
Wood thinks having stricter gun laws in Virginia would not help address the issue of violence the nation is facing.
"Criminals, they don't get their guns in gun stores," Wood said. "This is only hindering law-abiding people."
Not only that, but Wood said it would hurt business, having a negative impact not just for him, but on the state as a whole.
"Going to put a hindrance on the sales, which in turn turns right around and hurts the state more so than people think," Wood said.
Wood is upset that more people across Virginia who feel strongly opposed to gun reform did not vote, but he hopes now, in Augusta County, they can come together to voice their thoughts on making Augusta County a Second Amendment sanctuary.
"Sometimes it pulls together where our community as a one will have to own up to that personal responsibility and say that we're not going to stand for it," Wood said.
For context, in this year's elections, Augusta County voters overwhelmingly supported Republican candidates, who won every open race in our area.
Rockingham County administrators will discuss the topic at their meeting coming up on Dec. 11 at 7:15 p.m. at Spotswood High School.