Staunton City Council puts Second Amendment discussions on work session agenda

Staunton City Council
Staunton City Council(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 23, 2020 at 5:17 PM EST
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Thursday's Staunton City Council work session agenda includes consideration of a discussion about the city's Second Amendment status, focusing on whether or not to allow a public hearing on the topic of becoming a 'Second Amendment Sanctuary.'

While members of the public

in recent weeks, Councilwoman Andrea Oakes said the council has not had any type of discussion as a body of government yet.

"We normally do not have a public hearing for a resolution, so in order to allow the public hearing, the council has to be in the majority vote to allow it, and that's what I want," Oakes said.

The Second Amendment status has not been on the agenda for the past few meetings, but community members still showed up to voice their opinions during the 'matters of the public period' period.

Around two dozen people spoke on Jan. 10, with the majority speaking against the idea of the city adopting a resolution, but others speaking in favor of the resolution and against proposed bills in the General Assembly.

Oakes said having an official public hearing for the people of Staunton would allow council to have a better idea of what the people want, and how the council should move forward.

Oakes said she's in favor of having the discussion.

"Having it as a public hearing would put it on the record. I will be official. We will advertise it so everyone will know about it, and then we will have a proper venue, where folks can come out, have a platform and have their voice heard," Oakes said.

If the council is able to agree to have a public hearing, Oakes hopes it will happen at the council's next meeting in February.

According to the Associated Press, more than 100 Virginia cities, towns and counties have passed resolutions expressing their support for gun rights. That includes



, and

, as well as the towns of Grottoes, Stanley, and Strasburg.

The city of Harrisonburg held a discussion on a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution, with no public comments permitted, and

. The city of Waynesboro held a special hearing, packed with several hundred people, but

after discussing becoming a "constitutional city" instead of a "Second Amendment sanctuary."

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.

According to the resolution passed in Rockingham County, for instance, 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."

In an

, Attorney General Mark Herring concluded that localities and local constitutional officers “cannot nullify state laws” and must follow any gun violence prevention measures passed by the General Assembly.