TAZEWELL COUNTY (WVVA) -- More than 30 counties across the Commonwealth have passed 'Second Amendment Sanctuary' resolutions -- including Tazewell County.
But what does that really mean?
"What the Second Amendment sanctuary resolution is designed to do, primarily, is to demonstrate to the Virginia General Assembly the vast amount of people in the Commonwealth of Virginia that are fundamentally opposed to the proposed regulations that are there being submitted for the 2020 General Assembly that are significantly restricted on the Second Amendment rights to possess or operate firearms," says Eastern District Representative of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, Charles Stacy.
But what protection does that provide to the residents of "sanctuary counties?"
Officials say the resolutions are more like a 'symbol of opposition.'
"It's almost more of a proclamation of what the boards are prepared to do," Stacy says.
"It's a strong message to our legislators let them know that we don't want to see any changes in our gun laws," says Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt. "So we're seeing county after county doing the same thing and passing similar resolutions, to say that we do not want to infringe on our rights to have our weapons."
Therefore, the resolutions don't provide a legal defense.
"You can't simply present this in a court and say, 'Your Honor, I'm not guilty of possessing a firearm that the General Assembly has deemed illegal, because my home county passed a second amendment sanctuary resolution,'" Stacy explained. "What the resolutions are designed to do is prevent that legislation from even coming out of the Virginia General Assembly, by giving the proclamation of the localities to the General Assembly before they vote."
But a second resolution is providing the residents of Tazewell County with more protection.
"Tazewell County also passed a militia resolution, which gives us some teeth to be able to act and do something if a law comes out dealing with firearms that we see is illegal," Sheriff Hieatt explained.
That resolution actually gives Tazewell County the opportunity to challenge any law it feels violates the Second Amendment rights of its citizens.
"The stronger legal arguments are the ones that we are preparing in the second resolution to allow us a constitutional challenge," Stacy said. "If the Virginia General Assembly passes these laws as they are written, and the governor signs them; we have the immediate ability to challenge those in both the Virginia and the United States Courts to challenge the constitutionality of those laws."
If the laws do pass, Tazewell County is willing to do just that.
"Right now we're all just hoping that the public outpouring all across the Commonwealth is enough to maybe inform the General Assembly that on these particular issues, their proposed legislation has gone too far," Stacy said. "And if the people deem it to be a violation of their constitutional rights, they're not going to just sit back and take that. They're going to advocate, they're going to fight that as hard as they can. So hopefully that'll be heard in Richmond, and the General Assembly will modify what's been proposed to make it a little bit more constitutional, but also a little bit more along the wishes of what the people of the Commonwealth really want."