Isle of Wight becomes latest ‘constitutional’ locality as 2nd Amendment debate continues

Isle of Wight

WINDSOR, Va. (WAVY) — Another Virginia community has voted to become a “constitutional” locality as the debate over gun rights continues throughout the state.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday night to pass a resolution that states it does not support any state legislation that would infringe on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Viewers called WAVY News 10 to report there were hundreds of attendees at the meeting. Speakers spoke for several hours.

“Criminals do not obey laws,” said William McCarty, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “You can make law, after law, after law but someone bent on not abiding by them are not going to listen.”

The movement to establish “Second Amendment sanctuaries” has spread in Virginia since the Nov. 5 election, when Democrats gained majority control of both the state Senate and House of Delegates. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has said his party’s leaders will push for gun control measures.

Yet Isle of Wight, like several other communities, removed the word “sanctuary” and replaced it with “constitutional,” signaling it would not undermine any state laws, even if they don’t agree with them.

“I, as a board member, took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Virginia. Whatever laws come down from the state level … I will do my best to abide by the state law,” said Supervisor Rudolph Jefferson, who represents the Hardy District.

10 On Your Side reviewed the legislation that sparked outrage among gun rights supporters. Senate Bill 16, would ban semi-automatic pistols rifles and shotguns with fixed magazine capacities in excess of 10 rounds. It’s similar to legislation that Northam put forward following Virginia Beach’s mass shooting. Northam called it an assault weapons ban.
However unlike Senate Bill 16, the Virginia Mercury reports, Northam is considering a grandfather clause for people who already have assault weapons. They would be allowed to keep them under his plan but they will have to register them. 

Where localities stand on the Second Amendment:

Localities across Virginia are considering the idea of becoming Second Amendment sanctuaries, which are localities that have pledged not to use public resources to enforce any laws they see as unconstitutional. Some have passed resolutions simply in support of citizens’ Second Amendment rights, while others have said discussions on gun laws belong in Richmond.

Here’s the rundown on where area localities stand:

  • Accomack County: The Board of Supervisors did not make the county a “sanctuary,” but approved a resolution affirming its commitment to citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment Dec. 18.
  • Chesapeake: City Council did not make the city a “sanctuary,” but approved a resolution affirming its commitment to citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment Dec. 10.
  • Exmore: Exmore officials have passed a resolution to become a Second Amendment sanctuary city.
  • Gloucester County: The Board of Supervisors voted to become a Second Amendment sanctuary.
  • Hampton: City Council has not voted on any Second Amendment-related resolution, but hundreds voiced their support at the council meeting Dec. 11. The NAACP also attended and came out against the idea. Mayor said the issue is “premature.”
  • James City County: The Board of Supervisors did not make the county a “sanctuary,” but approved a resolution affirming its commitment to citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment Dec. 10.
  • Isle of Wight: The Board of Supervisors did not make the county a “sanctuary,” but approved a resolution to affirm its commitments to citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment.
  • Mathews County: The Board of Supervisors voted Dec. 17 to become a Second Amendment sanctuary.
  • Newport News: City Council has not voted on any Second Amendment-related resolution, but a large crowd attended a Dec. 10 meeting to voice support for gun rights.
  • Norfolk: City Council has not voted on any Second Amendment-related resolution, but a large crowd of residents voiced their support Dec. 10.
  • Northampton County: The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution expressing its support for the rights of citizens to bear arms under the Second Amendment Dec. 10, but the resolution did not declare it a “sanctuary.”
  • Poquoson: Poquoson City Council voted to become a “Constitutional City” and uphold citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment Dec. 9.
  • Portsmouth: City Council voted 4-3 in favor of passing a resolution declaring Portsmouth a “Second Amendment Constitutional City” Jan. 14.
  • Southampton County: Southampton officials have passed a resolution to become a Second Amendment sanctuary city.
  • Suffolk: City Council voted on December 16, 2019 in support of a resolution reaffirming Suffolk’s commitment to the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia. On Jan. 15, City Council unanimously voted to amend the resolution to add a paragraph expressing the city’s “deep and abiding commitment to protecting all Constitutional rights” of residents, as well as its opposition to any law, regulation or other act that would unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of citizens, even beyond the Second Amendment. It also strikes two lines.
  • Surry County: County officials did not make the county a “sanctuary,” but approved a resolution affirming its commitment to citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment Dec. 5.
  • Virginia Beach: City Council voted Jan. 6 to become a “Second Amendment Constitutional City.”
  • York County: The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Dec. 17 to become a “Constitutional City” and uphold citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment.

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