The state Attorney General of Virginia seems to have finally grown tired of pesky counties and cities in his state passing Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions and would like to put the whole unpleasant affair behind him. But how does one do that? Why, by calling a press conference and issuing a proclamation, of course. Such resolutions are meaningless (according to the AG) and will have no effect on anything whatsoever. You have his word on it. (WaPo)
Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) issued an opinion Friday that there is no legal weight to the “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions being passed in localities around the state in reaction to potential new gun control laws.
“When the General Assembly passes new guns safety laws they will be enforced, and they will be followed,” Herring said in announcing the opinion. “These resolutions have no legal force, and they’re just part of an effort by the gun lobby to stoke fear.”
Gun rights advocates say more than 110 Virginia localities have passed some form of the resolutions, which say that local agencies will not enforce any gun restrictions that they deem to be unconstitutional.
The AG’s name is Mark R. Herring. I’m feeling too lazy to go Google it right now, so I’m just going to assume that the “R” stands for Red. (Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.)
As to what he’s saying about the sanctuary resolutions, there’s a small amount of truth in there but it becomes heavily obscured by reality. Owing to supremacy issues, it’s true that the counties and municipalities can’t pass laws that supersede state law. But that’s not really the purpose of the resolutions, is it? They aren’t passing laws saying that something is legal when state law claims that it isn’t. They”re simply saying that they won’t be expending the resources to enforce the law.
In that regard, it’s really no different than the sanctuary cities that welcome illegal immigrants (which I’m guessing Herring has no problem with). They can’t pass a law making it legal to be in the country without the proper documentation. Nor can they stop federal officers from enforcing those federal laws. They instead block their police officers from assisting ICE and CBP while performing their duties or expending resources toward those efforts.
If the Democrats in the Virginia state legislature pass laws that these counties, towns and cities believe to be unconstitutional, they simply won’t enforce them. If the Governor wants to send out the state troopers to every nook and cranny of the state to enforce the laws himself, that’s his prerogative. His other option would be to try to remove any officials who are not enforcing the new laws. But that immediately turns into a massive can of worms since he would be going after county sheriffs, executives, police chiefs and/or mayors. Most of them will have been elected by people who apparently like and support them (or who were appointed by the same).
If that’s the case, then the AG and the Governor will find themselves facing a rather hostile audience next November in parts of the state where they only barely squeaked out a majority in 2018. So Herring’s words are filled with plenty of bravado, but it sounds like he has little or nothing to back them up.