The Virginia Beach City Council will hold a pair of special sessions next week to discuss — and vote — on becoming a “Second Amendment Constitutional City.”
“The City Council hereby expresses its strong support for the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and urges the members of the General Assembly and the Governor to take no action which would violate the freedoms guaranteed by either the Virginia Bill of Rights or the federal Bills or Rights,” reads a draft of a resolution requested by Mayor Bobby Dyer, Vice Mayor James Wood and Council members Jessica Abbott, John Moss and Rosemary Wilson.
The council is set to discuss the resolution at 4 p.m. Jan. 6 in the council’s conference room. After a short break, the council will reconvene at 6 p.m. in its chambers for a formal vote.
The previously unscheduled meetings, which Dyer called for on Monday, come amid a push by newly-empowered Democrats to pass gun control regulations.
Earlier this month, hundreds of people flooded Virginia Beach City Hall to ask the council to resist the proposed legislation. The crowd, which was advocating for a Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance, was so large on Dec. 3 that police blocked the front doors of the building before the regularly scheduled 6 p.m. meeting even began.
The proposed vote also comes as the state’s top law-enforcement officer says such resolutions passed by other cities and counties — including Chesapeake, Isle of Wight and York — have “no legal effect.” In a Dec. 20 opinion, Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, said localities and constitutionally-sworn officers must enforce any new gun laws that are passed by the General Assembly and signed into law.
The agenda of the Dec. 3 meeting in Virginia Beach did not include any gun rights proposals, but people associated with the Virginia Citizens Defense League urged people to attend nonetheless.
Many who turned out to the meeting said they feared what Democrats might do when they gain control next week of the House of Delegates and Senate in addition to the governor’s mansion. The proposed resolution echos that sentiment, stating that the council “is concerned that certain pre-filed legislation for the 2020 session of the General Assembly may threaten the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”
In addition to declaring the city a “Second Amendment Constitutional City,” but not a “Sanctuary City,” the proposed resolution would also show the council’s support for “other elected bodies making similar declarations on behalf of Virginia counties, cities, and towns.”