By Sean Walton
Virginia’s Second Amendment gun sanctuary movement has turned its attention to fighting the governor’s call for a $4.8 million, 18-officer team to enforce his proposed “assault weapons” ban.
Two key groups issued an alert this week to push gun owners to four budget hearings Thursday around the state, asking them to quiz state legislators if they will vote to ban or confiscate weapons.
“We understand that this is short notice. But it would have a significant impact if many of our members could show up and make a 3-minute statement and ask questions of the legislators in attendance,” said the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
“We see in the governor’s proposed budget that he wants $4 million and 18 new law-enforcement positions to enforce a ban on commonly-owned firearms,” said Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America senior vice president. “Gun owners want to know: Is this money going to be used for the gun confiscation?” he added.
Over 150 people in Blacksburg for the public hearing on @GovernorVA’s proposed budget. Most people in the room are here — following a call put out by gun rights group VCDL — to speak about money in Northam’s budget to support implementation of gun control. pic.twitter.com/G32p7AEC8D
— Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) January 2, 2020
Both groups have been key in the surprising success of the organic gun sanctuary movement in Virginia that was prompted when Gov. Ralph Northam said he’d back sweeping gun control legislation after Democrats took control of the legislature in the 2019 elections.
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The election surprised gun owners and prompted them to subsequently flood town and county meetings to demand that local lawmakers OK sanctuary resolutions to ignore Richmond’s gun control urge.
A surprising 91% of all state counties have adopted the resolutions, sending a signal to state lawmakers.
In two weeks, the groups are planning to bus in thousands of gun owners for a “lobby day” in Richmond to reinforce demands not to pass new gun laws.
The gun control side is also working overtime to win support for gun control initiatives, including expanded background checks and a ban on modern sporting weapons such as AR-15 rifles and pistols.
At today’s budget hearings, the groups have urged their members to ask questions about Northam’s budget that includes $4.8 million for an 18-person force to implement his proposed assault weapons ban.
It also features more than $2 million to hire 10 more to enforce other gun control proposals, including universal background checks, a one-gun purchase per month limit, and “extreme risk legislation.”
“We need to get as many pro-gun Virginians as possible to attend these meetings and demand to know if the delegates and senators plan to allocate money — as delineated in budget — to confiscate common, household firearms from Virginia citizens,” VCDL wrote in an email alert.
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