FRONT ROYAL – More than 1,000 citizens, many donning orange stickers reading “Guns SAVE Lives,” packed Warren County High School’s auditorium to support a resolution declaring the locality a Second Amendment sanctuary.
After hearing from 47 citizens over three hours, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution naming the county a Second Amendment sanctuary. The resolution states “the Federal government has no authority to enforce state laws and States cannot be compelled to enforce Federal laws.”
Warren County joined a growing number of localities passing similar resolutions as gun safety laws are likely to be approved in the General Assembly. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring told CBS 6 News in Richmond that the resolutions will not prevent the enforcement of the proposed laws.
During a public hearing, Craig Anderson said he was inspired by the large turnout because “I thought I was gonna have to fight the tyranny myself,” and claimed that bats and hammers kill more people than guns.
Ross Mcvey said “King [Gov. Ralph] Northam” and “his redcoats” need to be stopped from imposing tyranny upon Warren County.
Vincent Resch said Virginia’s proposed gun laws were presented by Democratic puppets of “carpetbagger Michael Bloomberg” and “new world order globalist George Soros.” He claimed statistics show constipation is a deadlier threat than gun violence.
David Hafner, in what he said was a paraphrasing of Paul Revere, noted that “the leftist are coming, the leftist are coming.” He added that the beliefs of eastwardly citizens reflect the views of Washington, D.C., not Virginia as a whole.
“We may have to expel those counties from Virginia. Then they can form a state of like-minded individuals...and leave us the hell alone,” he said.
Sam Haun said a petition given to the supervisors contained thousands of people’s signatures who support Warren County becoming a Second Amendment sanctuary. He said there are many “excuses as to why we’re in this situation,” including low voter turnout and “lack of seats being challenged in the General Assembly” but “we’re to blame to some extent.”
“We’ve allowed the media to replace facts with opinions. They pick information to arrange and fit their narrative,” he said.
Haun added that “we have neglected to teach our children what it means to be Americans” and that there has also been “a liberal and socialist indoctrination of our college students.” Virginia, he said, is seemingly “moving toward enslaving its citizens” as “history is being erased daily by limiting what is being taught in schools and by destroying monuments.”
“Our voices are being censored by media and social media sites. And now they are coming for our firearms,” he said.
Gerald Stone, an Air Force veteran, said citizens are not privileged to have a 24-hour security detail like Northam.
“I have to defend my family,” he said.
Stone added that his daughter recently committed suicide with a gun, but she did not die by a gun.
“My daughter died because she had mental health problems. She would have...hung herself, took pills, whatever. The problem in America is not guns...mental health is a problem,” he said.
Harold Baggarly said acting County Attorney Jason Ham was smirking throughout the public hearing and that the “slick” lawyer can go back to Rockingham County. He added that Adolf Hitler confiscated guns.
Steven Kurtz, Warren County Republican Committee chairman, read a letter from U.S. Rep Ben Cline, R-Lexington, that supported gun rights. Kurtz then said about 60 percent of county residents were registered to vote in the last election, and “I’m begging everyone in this room to vote.”
Of the 47 speakers, two opposed the resolution.
Steve Foreman, Warren County Democratic Committee chairman, said gun violence is a public health crisis that must be addressed. The sanctuary resolution, he said, will result in Warren County gaining notoriety again for “massive resistance” — a reference to the county’s refusal to integrate schools — of laws it does not like.
“Good,” someone shouted from the crowd.
Foreman said America is a democracy, which was responded with shouts from the crowd that “it’s a republic.”
Supervisors Chairman Dan Murray asked the crowd to allow Foreman to speak. Foreman then said citizens’ welfare should be the most important factor in the discussion and “this crisis cannot be improved by allowing emotions to prevail.”
Foreman was booed as he returned to his seat, with Murray saying “can we please respect the individual and what they’re saying.”
“I don’t think we need to shout disrespect for somebody that doesn’t agree with us,” Murray said, which was greeted by applause.
Ken Logan agreed, saying everyone has the right to express their opinions and he was “a little bit embarrassed” by the crowd’s behavior.
While he “believes it’s his right to protect my friends and my family from threats foreign and domestic,” Logan said the Book of Romans says “I am to submit to the government whether or not I agree...so I ask you, my government, to give me a way out of this.”
Tom Howarth, who opposed the resolution, said he does not know anyone who wants to prevent a father from taking his son hunting or a widow from protecting herself. He said the resolution is unconstitutional and it is not up to supervisors or sheriffs to determine the constitution.
“That is the jobs of the courts,” he said.
Howarth added that hopefully both sides can work together to find a solution.
Supervisor Tom Sayre, who made the motion to pass the resolution, said “there was no fence around the school” when he grew up but now schools look like prisons. He said that is the result of prayers being removed from schools.
“We’ve taken God out of our country, that’s why people have mental illnesses and stuff because they don’t know who their creator is,” he said.
Murray once again noted that everyone has the right to speak.
“Respect has to be shown. That doesn’t exist today. We’re being destroyed from within and the only way to turn that around is a firm belief in God and discipline from parents, it has to start at home,” he said.