Nearly 47 residents came out to speak both for and against declaring Hampton a 2nd Amendment sanctuary during City Council’s legislative meeting Wednesday evening.
Mayor Donnie Tuck called residents up to a podium and free-standing mic two at a time for close to two-hours then promptly adjourned the meeting after council members declined any further comment or discussion on the proposed resolution.
“Hampton City Council is aware that other localities have adopted resolutions about becoming 2nd Amendment sanctuaries. However, it is the council’s belief that it would be premature for Hampton to take action on this matter ahead of formal actions by the General Assembly,” said Robin McCormick, a spokeswoman for the city.
Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced his plans to reintroduce eight bills that regulate guns. Some of these include background check requirements, bans on assault weapons and allows law enforcement officials to “separate” a person from a firearm if they exhibit dangerous behavior.
As a result localities across the state have responded by proposing to become 2nd Amendment sanctuaries. What this means is that localities are promoting themselves as areas that oppose any infringement on Constitutional rights, such as certain gun regulations.
“If current bills are passed I would become a felon in my own country that I’ve sworn to protect, how’s that even possible?” one resident said.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League, a nonprofit that aims to protect the right to bear arms, is one of the organizations pushing for these 2nd Amendment sanctuary cities, which it defines as “any locality that says it will not enforce any unconstitutional (federal or state) gun laws,” according to the organizations website.
“I think it’s just political posture and fear-mongering,” said Richard Schragger, a professor of Constitutional law at the University of Virginia. “The Supreme Court has not ruled that [these regulations] are a violation of the Second Amendment and has in fact left the door open for these kinds of regulations.”
Hampton City Council is scheduled to convene Dec. 18 as a follow-up to their Nov. 15 special session, then again for their next legislative session Jan. 8.