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Protesters urge Chesterfield leaders to take up Second Amendment ‘sanctuary’ resolution

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Gun advocates showed up in full force at a Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday evening.

The meeting's maximum capacity of 290 people were allowed inside to weigh if Chesterfield County should adopt a resolution become a Second Amendment "sanctuary" county.

"Self-defense is tantamount to those rights that we're standing out there trying to protect," said advocate Don Via Jr. "People have the intrinsic right to defend themselves against any possible attacks, whether they be foreign or domestic."

Emily Hartman, an attendee who opposes the sanctuary city concept, said that doing so would "encourage local law enforcement not to comply with the law."

"More guns have meant increasing numbers in accidental, intentionally and heat of the moment deaths," Hartman said. "This is not what the Second Amendment means."

Although no vote was taken, the message from gun-rights advocates was clear.

"We've got thousands of gun control laws, we just don't want anymore and we're done with this and we're done with compromise," Virginia Citizens Defense League's Philip Van Cleave said. "We don't need it. Go after criminals and take care of mental health. We just want you to send a message."

The expectation is that with control of both chambers and the Governorship, Democrats will pass gun control legislation in the 2020 session.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said when the General Assembly passes gun control legislation those laws will be enforced.

“The resolutions that are being passed are being ginned up by the gun lobby to try to scare people. What we’re talking about here are laws that will make our communities and our streets safer. We’re talking about universal background checks, finally, maybe, Virginia will pass universal background checks to make sure that people who are dangerous, who are criminals and who aren’t permitted to buy guns, won’t be able to buy guns,” said Herring. “So, when Virginia passes these gun safety laws that they will be followed, they will be enforced.”

Van Cleave argued the “flood of Second Amendment sanctuary localities across the state, and the massive crowds at those government meetings, is sending a message to the General Assembly that Virginia does not need any more unconstitutional gun control.”

While the Second Amendment was not on the agenda for Wednesday night's meeting, advocates hope the measure will be considered in the future.

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