By Jeff Hulbert
In a unanimous vote, Stafford County, Virginia — a richly historical region that was once the boyhood home of George Washington — has voted overwhelmingly to become the latest Second Amendment sanctuary in the Old Dominion.
The 7-0 vote announcement was met with thunderous applause in the packed Board of Supervisors meeting, and was amplified with loud cheers and shouts coming from the three standing-room-only overflow rooms nearby.
Stafford County citizens are celebrating the adoption of a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution that adds their county to expanding map of Virginia counties and incorporated towns that have embraced a striking pushback against the scheming of anti-gun Democrats at the State Capitol in Richmond.
Hints as to the outcome of last night’s vote came even before “testimony time” got underway.
Those who had come to speak saw Board Chairman Gary F. Snellings, along with all of his fellow Supervisors, take their seats wearing “Guns Save Lives” lapel stickers just as the session was gaveled to order.
That gesture electrified the pro-gun crowd that had assembled, and may have taken the wind out of anti-gun folks mixed in with the group. At the close of the proceedings, only a handful of gun control proponents took the opportunity to step up to the podium to declare their support for more infringements.
It was a turnout that by most estimates topped 1,500 people.
Among them were dozens of 2A folks—some open-carrying firearms—who arrived more than four hours before the proceedings to assure themselves of getting a seat.
The pro-gun citizens ignored chilly temperatures and sporadic showers, standing in clusters outside the Stafford Government Center to talk about what message they would deliver when their time at the podium arrived.
Just 40 miles from Washington, D.C., this mostly rural and very historic region did see a very heavy law enforcement presence for this BOS meeting, but there was nothing requiring a police response.
While nearly all those addressing the Supervisors spoke only for themselves, a few spoke for their organizations. One of the most galvanizing presentations came from Ken Kirk of the Virginia Hunters Coalition.
“We have more than 11,000 members. If called to a conflict, we would represent the largest standing army in Virginia”, Kirk told the Stafford board members.
Adela Bertoldi, speaking on behalf of the Stafford Republican Party, did not hold back her frustration. “We should not have to be here tonight!”, she said. “Tell the Governor and the legislators that they cannot take our rights!”
Nearly all who came to make a short speech said that Stafford must join the more than 100 counties and towns that now officially stand in opposition to the radical gun control and confiscation proposals taking shape in Richmond.
“While I am proud of Stafford County, I am sickened and disgusted at my home state!”. —-Crystal Venuch, incoming 2020 Board Member
“The politicians in Richmond are the domestic enemy that the Founders warned up about! —John Edgar, Stafford voter
The consensus in the hallways of Government Center was that every identifiable bill proposal put up by the new Democrat majority is unconstitutional on its face.
The Virginia legislature will not come into session for another month, but gun grabbing zealots have been energized by the Democrat takeover of both the Commonwealth’s Senate and House following the November elections.
In the Old Dominion, the Bloomberg-financed gun control faction is led by longtime anti-gun Democrat Dick Saslaw of Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County.
He was elevated last month to Majority Leader of the Senate when his party wrested the gavel from the Republicans.
The Stafford County region is a short trip south from the crowded northern-most Virginia counties that historically embrace more gun control. Bordering the Nation’s Capitol, these counties have experienced rapid expansion, creating a necklace of liberal counties just to the southwest of DC.
The voters there now represent a solid block of Democrat gun control supporters, and appear on a political map as a blue island in a sea of conservative red.
Back in Stafford, the Sanctuary vote represents the aspiration for undisturbed gun rights by citizens who are proud of the local heritage, which dates back to the arrival of the first English settlers in 1647.
Stafford also proudly claims that it was the home for a young George Mason—who went on to author Virginia’s Declaration of Rights in 1776.
With place names in the county like Colonial Ridge and Colonial Forge, the residents who testified tonight at the Supervisors meeting insist that the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution is a strong step in the direction of preserving their way of life.
Their fervor to speak out coincides with the inevitable political friction that arises as more voters with more “urban” values relocate to the area.
Michael “Moses” Berry took his turn at the podium to say that his Fredericksburg political action group saw what he says is “a 5000% jump” in the number of people logging into the group’s Facebook page.
The traditions in Virginia include the freedom for anyone in the Old Dominion—whether a resident or a visitor—to “open carry” lawfully-owned firearms in public. Many, however, are highly agitated by the escalating money drops into Virginia from the gun-hating Michael Bloomberg, the New York Mayor turned presidential candidate.
“Virginia is not for sale!” — Heather Luke, a Stafford voter.
“They want to organize a domestic army and go door to door to take people’s guns away” —Phillip Cole, Stafford voter
One discussion point that the testifying citizens returned to frequently is the fact that Virginians want legislators in Richmond to remember that politicians are not only constrained by the Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights, but by Virginia’s strong language protecting firearms ownership in the state constitution as well.
The wife of a county gun store owner told the Supervisors, “The largest demographic of new gun owners in Stafford now…is women. You don’t see the Governor’s security detail carrying rape whistles, do you?”
And despite the citizen input lasting for four hours, there was a key figure there who never provided testimony. He stood quietly in the back of the meeting room, listening intently.
It was Stafford County Sheriff David P. Decatur.
He did however, talk to TTAG. “I took an oath to the Constitution of the United States and to the Commonwealth of Virginia, said the sheriff. “I work for the citizens and I am pro-Second Amendment.”
The Sheriff added, “I want to alleviate any concerns that the law enforcement establishment is going to come and take firearms away from people who haven’t violated the law. It’s not going to happen”.
Asked if he’d vote for sanctuary status if were a Board member and had a vote, Sheriff Decatur did not hesitate: “Absolutely, I would have voted for it”.
Much of the credit for the evening’s success on behalf of 2A was the masterful organizing done by two groups, The Second Amendment Alliance and the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
It was the Second Amendment Alliance that staged several food trucks plus dining shelters, in the Government Center parking lot so that folks could grab a bite to eat during the long hours waiting to testify. The SAA’s hospitality efforts created a festive atmosphere while folks compared notes on how they would use their three minutes at the witness podium.
Then there is the success of the VCDL political juggernaut that has played out over the past month—the likes of which has never been seen in American politics.
The speed that Virginia Citizen Defense League organizers have moved to lock in so many places as Second Amendment Sanctuaries has left many in awe.
The deployment of more than 100,000 gun owners wearing “Guns Saves Lives” in gatherings across the Commonwealth is staggering achievement to many.
In response, the VCDL has ramped up their efforts to have their leaders and members at every town and county meeting possible—all the while making themselves highly visible with “Gun Saves Lives” stickers on every shirt and sign post.
The VCDL is now using green on its political map to indicate all counties that have given a green light to Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
As December winds to a close, the Green Wave now appears poised to overtake the very few infringer regions left.
Jeff Hulbert is the founder of Patriot Picket.