Portsmouth council passes 2nd Amendment resolution; Portsmouth councilman brings AR-15 to meeting

Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth is one of the latest localities to send a message to lawmakers in Richmond in support of Second Amendment rights.

City Council voted 4-3 in favor of passing a resolution of support of the Second Amendment resolution, which declares Portsmouth a “Second Amendment Constitutional City.”

Mayor John Rowe, Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke and council member Shannon Glover voted in opposition. Rowe said he believes in sensible gun legislation.

The meeting started at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chamber and went past 11 p.m.

Speakers addressed city leaders for several hours. The council chamber was packed full, with people watching on monitors and more downstairs on the first floor watching.

But one of the most talked-about moments in Tuesday’s meeting: Councilman Nathan Clark showed up wearing an AR-15 rifle.

The councilman said he did this to make a statement about his stance on the proposed gun laws. In a letter to citizens, he said the new legislation is ludicrous and he says he plans to defend the oath to the Constitution that he swore to as a law enforcement officer.

“The newly proposed gun legislation for the state of Virginia is ludicrous,” the letter reads. “The legislation will make criminals of lawful citizens and gun owners. Again, I am a law enforcement officer, and if this legislation is passed, I will also be made a criminal.

“Taking away the rights of our citizens not only puts them in greater danger, but the act is unconstitutional. Criminals have always and will always break the law. We must punish the existing criminals for their actions, and not take away the means of defense from law-abiding citizens.”

Portsmouth Councilman Nathan Clark wears an AR-15 rifle on his chest as a statement Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Robert Hamm of Va2ANews)

Portsmouth joins a long list of localities in Hampton Roads and the state trying to send a message to lawmakers. Some localities have passed resolutions declaring themselves a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” while others have passed resolutions focused more on being “Constitutional” localities.

Some localities have declined to pass any resolution.

Last week, Virginia Beach City Council voted 6-4 to pass a resolution to become a Second Amendment Constitutional City.

The resolutions are largely symbolic. State Attorney General Mark Herring has said they aren’t legally enforceable.

A crowd also attended Norfolk City Council Tuesday night to talk about Second Amendment rights.


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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