By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 10 — The vast majority of the standing-room-only crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief after the 4-to-2 vote.
Before an overflowing town hall, the Luray Council approved a resolution supporting Second Amendments rights, just as the Page County Board of Supervisors had done in front of an even larger group on Dec. 3 and the Stanley Council followed suit on Dec. 10.
Jeremey Hilliard of Luray has been on a crusade in Page County pushing for resolutions of support mirroring documents that have been adopted all across the Commonwealth. Governing bodies in 141 Virginia’s localities have adopted such resolutions. Now that he’s gained support from county supervisors and the Luray and Stanley councils, Hilliard has plans to approach the Town of Shenandoah next.
The statewide chain-reaction comes in response to gun legislation being proposed by Democrats during the current session of the General Assembly in Richmond.
“The Richmond legislature has taken some steps us 2A people can’t abide by,” Luray resident Bonnie Snyder told the council. “I hope you support this… the board of supervisors has supported it, and we need to show unity and solidarity. I hope it will continue to send a message to the Democrats of who we are.”
The Luray Council’s adoption of an abbreviated version of the county’s resolution came just prior to Tuesday’s “Crossover Day” in Richmond — the midway point in which the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate exchange bills that have made it through committee and have been approved on the floor.
As of the final deadline for crossover today, the House of Delegates is forwarding seven of eight gun control bills forward to the Senate; while the Senate passed five of six bills related to gun control. While both bodies rejected at least one gun-related bill, one other died in committee and another was withdrawn. The topics range from laws aimed to protect minors, to limiting gun purchases to one per month. Governor Ralph Northam is expected to sign any bills that make it out of both houses of the legislature.
During citizen comment time in Luray on Monday night, a half dozen speakers addressed the council about the gun rights resolution. They were split much like the vote, 4-to-2 in support. Supporters touted the absolutism of the U.S. and Virginia constitutions, as well as poking holes in the opposition’s Dillon Rule defense. Opponents questioned what the town (or county’s) liability may be if enforcing the resolution became a reality.
“My concern is by passing a resolution like this, does [the town] leave itself open to legal problems?” asked Cathy Herbert of Luray. “Does it make the town, or you personally, libel if something happens? Would your insurance cover it?”
Council decided early on to amend the evening’s agenda and move the resolution up to the front of the town’s business due to the large crowd in attendance for that one item. Once the vote was taken, three-fourths of the crowd left the meeting.
The motion to approve the Resolution of Support of Second Amendment Rights was made by Councilman Leroy Lancaster and supported by fellow council members Jerry Schiro, Joey Sours and Jerry Dofflemyer. Council members Leah Pence and Ron Vickers voted against the motion.
“I am a firearm owner, but isn’t our entire constitution important?” Luray resident Richard Lawrence asked. “Before we make this town a Second Amendment sanctuary… why not make the entire constitution a sanctuary?”