VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was at the front of the minds of both elected officials and residents Tuesday night.
When Virginia Beach City Council met Tuesday for its first meeting of the month, the Second Amendment wasn’t listed on the agenda. Yet hundreds showed up to voice their thoughts on the city becoming a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
So much so that the City Council Chambers and all of city hall reached capacity, leaving even more people outside during the meeting. By 6:30 p.m. the crowd had swelled to the point that both the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office and police department were on-scene to close the road down in front of city hall.
The gun rights advocates wore orange stickers saying “Guns Save Lives” in the shadow of Building 2 at the municipal center, where six months earlier a gunman killed 12 and injured 4 others.
10 On Your Side was unable to hear who spoke before the council because of capacity and “open mic night” comments are not recorded. However, we do know one of the speakers was Vincent Smith, Division Manager for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Works, who spearheaded the request. He also has created a petition calling for a change in a policy that prohibits city employees from having guns at work.
Outside former Republican congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Scott Taylor addressed the crowd.
“I don’t want to be a felon for protecting myself and exercising my constitutional rights,” Taylor said to cheers.
He called the resolution “a political statement that tells Richmond ‘you will not infringe on our constitutional rights’.”
Members from Moms Demand Action, a dissenting group that focuses on demanding “reasonable solutions” to gun violence in America, was also in attendance.
“Even though you might see a lot of people here, obviously Virginians came out and voted for gun safety legislation this session,” said Sibel Galindez, a co-lead with the Hampton Roads chapter.
Galindez said what alarms her the most is the notion that policy could be ignored.
“Lawlessness has no place in Virginia Beach,” Galindez said.
The “sanctuary” movement 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 and more than a dozen bills concerning firearms have already been pre-filed.
So far, 23 counties have passed resolutions ensuring they will not use their public resources to enforce any unconstitutional gun laws.
However political experts and even Taylor admitted that the state would ultimately be able to enforce its laws.
“At this point, we just have to figure out what we are empowered to do and to see if we can find out something. But obviously we have to protect the Second Amendment, we’ll figure out a way,” said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer following the meeting.
Virginia Beach was not the only locality to hear public support for the Second Amendment on Tuesday night.
Gloucester County voted to become a “Second Amendment sanctuary” Tuesday after another lengthy public hearing.
More than 35 people spoke at the meeting, a majority of whom were in favor of the proposal.
Stay with WAVY.com for updates.