ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Rockingham County became the latest locality in Virginia to declare itself a Second Amendment sanctuary on Wednesday night.
In a unanimous vote, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution, similar to that which has been passed by more than 60 other localities, in support of their citizens' Second Amendment rights.
The vote came after a public comment period was held at Spotswood High School on Wednesday night. The meeting was packed with thousands of supporters of the decision. The large majority of speakers supported the resolution, while some spoke against it.
Overall, there were over 3,000 people in attendance.
Before and during the hearing, there were significant traffic delays in the area around the high school, with some people reporting that it took them at least 45 minutes just to get into the school parking lot.
More than dozen people spoke, before the board announced they had made a decision, hoping the resolution would put political pressure on Democratic lawmakers in Richmond who have made clear they want to put in place stricter gun laws in Virginia.
Those laws include universal background checks, banning any magazines that hold more than ten rounds, red flag laws, and more.
"In the words of a very intelligent, but defeated admiral, I am afraid we have done nothing but awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with great resolve. For that is exactly what they have done. Next election, we patriots of Virginia in Rockingham County will not forget that we will vote for that. God bless America and may his hand protect you and the Constitution," said one Rockingham County citizen.
According to the resolution, the Board of Supervisors "expresses its continuing intent to uphold, support and defend all rights protected and guaranteed by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Constitution of the United States."
Rockingham County's decision on Wednesday followed multiple similar decisions throughout the area.
In the Shenandoah Valley, Shenandoah County, Page County, and Augusta County had already voted to adopt similar resolutions in recent weeks. A number of towns, including Grottoes, Strasburg, and Stanley have also held their own votes to adopt similar resolutions.
The city of Staunton is not planning a specific hearing on the topic, but the city's sheriff recently called on the public to attend an upcoming city council meeting to make their voices heard.
Many other localities are still in the process of discussing taking the step.
The concept of becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary is essentially one in which counties, cities, or towns vote to adopt a resolution declaring their intent that public tax money in their jurisdiction not be used for any measures that violate the Second Amendment.
The movement began shortly after the election earlier this month in which Democrats won full control of the Virginia 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 yet, but one gun control bill has been proposed by a Democrat that's created a stir on social media and pushed the conversation on guns: 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." Possessing or transporting a gun under the new definition of an "assault firearm" would become a Class 6 felony.
Senate Bill 18 would raise the age for purchasing a firearm in Virginia to 21 and require mandatory background checks for any transfer of firearms, instructing State Police to establish a process for people to obtain the background checks.
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, and any challenge that would result to laws passed next year would go to the courts, but the resolutions put forth a public stance on behalf of counties' or cities' citizens.
Governor Ralph Northam has made it clear that he still plans to push for more gun laws in the commonwealth now that Democrats hold the majority in the General Assembly.