FRONT ROYAL – Citizens displeased with Virginia gun laws have formed the Warren County Militia, which member Sam Haun said has a primary goal of defending the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment.

“It’s more of a defensive organization than it is anything. We’re not gearing up to take out the capital. And that’s what a lot of people misconstrue. They think that we’re anti-government. The reality is that we’re not anti-government, we’re anti-bad government,” Haun, a Marine Corps veteran, said.

Although both the town and county declared they are Second Amendment sanctuaries, Haun said that was more of a symbolic gesture than anything and “we just didn’t think that was enough.”

“The Second Amendment, it protects the First Amendment. If we lose that Second Amendment, then we have no way of fighting back when they want to push something on us that we just can’t abide by. So that’s what makes the whole gun thing so important,” he said.

Haun said the militia is “doing more for the community than we are for anything” such as forming neighborhood watches and attempting to institute a community garden.

Noting the COVID-19 pandemic, Haun said that the government will not save citizens if something goes wrong. For example, he said, when the food shelves went bare or people were scared to enter stores, a prepared group could have solved a lot of the issue by providing food to those in need.

“We’re in need of the capability to help ourselves and not rely on big government to do it for us,” he said.

Additionally, Haun noted that the militia has gotten a lawyer to help individuals who have been served with “red flag laws” that attempt to confiscate guns from people deemed as community threats.

With so many mountain communities springing up, he noted that people are losing places to shoot guns, so the militia would also like to find a location for a public shooting range where firearm safety training would be available.

Haun explained the militia does have target practice “every now and then” but that mainly consists of firearm safety training.

“We don’t really do a whole lot of military-type tactics. Now we do have a few guys that are former vets. They’ll come out and they’ll get together and do stuff, like they did back in the service…With a lot of the civilians that we have, it’s all about safety,” he said.

Haun explained the militia has 53 active members and about the same number of inactive members. Those figures, he said, are likely to grow as about 350 people recently attended a “muster” event that served as a “call to readiness” to see how many people were interested in assisting during emergencies.

He said the militia’s “plan A” is “to get more involved and to get the community more involved in politics, especially local politics” as “a lot of people don’t understand that the big changes they’re asking for don’t come from big government, they come from your local government.”

“Now what we call Plan B is if, say the governor passes these laws, and they physically come out here and start to work against the Constitution. Then we might have to group up together and just form a line and say ‘enough is enough,’” Haun said.

In particular, Haun explained the militia will not stand for police going door-to-door and confiscating firearms.

“At that point, we’d have to show up and find out if it’s really worth them carrying out their job or if maybe they want to find a new line of work,” Haun said. “I don’t think it will happen. I think the reason it’s not gonna happen is because small groups like mine are starting to pop up all across Virginia.”

He said “forced vaccinations” would be another issue that  the militia would have a problem.

Haun noted that “it’s a misconception” that the militia is a “violent arm of the right-wing” and the group has members with wide-ranging political beliefs.

“We’re actually more neutral than what most people believe,” he said.

Asked what would happen if Joe Biden wins the presidency, Haun responded: “If it’s a fair election, nothing.”

Haun added that if Donald Trump is reelected, “the left is just gonna go out and start burning things because they seem to have progressed toward that ‘violence is the answer’ type deal.” If Biden wins, he said “the right is probably going to challenge it through legal means.”

“When it comes to the new laws that would be put in place by Biden, then that’s where our line would be re-formed. He can say everything he wants, he can say: ‘well we just made this a law, now you have to give us your guns.’ He can say that to me all day long. Until you physically come after me, then I don’t have to do anything about it,” he said.

Haun noted that no matter what happens, Warren County would never be sectioned off like the Chaz zone in Seattle because “they’re based in communism, they get to decide who comes, who goes, they get to make the rules, nobody else’s voice counts.”

“As a militia, we still believe in America. You’re free to come and go as please, you’re free to say whatever you want,” he said.

Haun added that “even if we were forced to take up arms against the government, we would never cordon anything off.”

“You cannot do anything to prevent people from entering or leaving the community. This is America, that’s part of what we would be fighting against,” he said.

– Contact Josh Gully at jgully@nvdaily.com