Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy Carter says he supports the Second-Amendment Sanctuary resolution the Board of Supervisors adopted Monday.
Carter spoke by phone Tuesday about the resolution and how it relates to his constitutional office and position in law enforcement. Carter won election to his fifth term, which begins Jan. 1.
“You take an oath of office as an elected official,” Carter said. “Part of the oath of office is would the elected official give assurances to the public that they will support and defend the rights of the people, i.e. support the United States Constitution.”
Carter then questioned why any elected official would propose or pass an unconstitutional law.
“I don’t understand who would do that, first of all,” Carter said. “And, second of all, if someone actually did pass a law that was unconstitutional, certainly there would be a redress of grievances regarding that unlawful act.”
Carter responded to complaints that the resolution is premature.
“But what I’ve gathered from it was that it was the locality’s way of expressing to the legislators in Richmond that they aren’t pleased with the rhetoric that’s coming out of Richmond - the rhetoric being that there’s this intention to pass unlawful legislation,” Carter said.
The resolution also notes that the county would not use local money to enforce any unconstitutional laws. The county provides roughly 70% of the funds in the Sheriff’s Office budget, Carter said.
“The way I interpret the resolution is the board is saying that they don’t want to spend any money that’s engaged in enforcing an unlawful statute,” Carter said.
The sheriff, a Republican, went on to say he doesn’t see the matter as a partisan issue. Carter didn’t identify the party by name but noted that it has a small majority in the General Assembly and members intend to infringe on people’s rights.
“That (rhetoric) didn’t originate from this office,” Carter said. “That didn’t originate from Shenandoah County. That’s originated from Richmond and I’m not saying it’s everyone there in this particular party. Maybe it’s a small group of people.”
Carter compared the party members’ proposing the gun-control measures to someone throwing a match into a can of gasoline.
“People are very passionate when government starts spewing rhetoric that they’re going to infringe upon people’s rights, and I’m with them,” he said. “Part of being a constitutional office is protecting people’s rights.”