The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday, Nov. 19 declaring the county a second amendment sanctuary.
Citizens who attended the standing-room-only meeting to witness what some of the supervisors called a ‘historic’ vote for the county cheered and applauded the unanimous vote.
“What we need to put in our message to leaders at the state and federal level is to look at history, and realize, that one thing every dictator has done is to take away gun rights,” supervisor Bob Warren said.
The resolution comes on the heels of the Nov. 5 general election, where the Democratic Party retook the Virginia General Assembly.
Following the election, Governor Ralph Northam promised stricter firearm laws across the Commonwealth.
“They’re going to take away our AR-15s. We’re not doing anything about cars or doing anything about hospitals where a lot of people die,” Bill McAninch said.
A total of 10 citizens spoke for the resolution Tuesday night. No one spoke against it.
Supervisor Ron Scearce introduced the resolution, which promises not to use public funds to restrict gun rights or, “aid in the unnecessary and unconstitutional restriction of the rights under the Second Amendment of the citizens of Pittsylvania County to bear arms.”
Pittsylvania County joins Patrick, Charlotte, Franklin and Appomattox Counties who have already passed similar resolutions.
During the supervisor’s work session Tuesday, Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Haskins expressed concern over the safety of officers if legislatures in Richmond ban assault weapons or certain magazines.
“My personal fear is officers lives are going to be at risk if they start showing up to doors asking for someone’s guns… especially if that person isn’t mentally stable,” Haskins said.
During the work session discussion, Haskins noted it is the job of the Commonwealth Attorney to uphold Virginia law, and was careful to not voice an opinion on how he felt about stricter gun laws.
“There is no proposed pretense of buyback for AR-15s. You would either have to surrender it, render it inoperable, or posses it and become a felon,” Haskins said.
Supervisor Tim Barber said noted that while some are concerned about assault style weapons, the .30-06 rifle — a gun he says is favored by many hunters for use — was at one time the sniper rifle of choice in the United States Military.
In other business:
The board approved the final needs assessment for the new county jail and courthouse.
The next step for both facilities is for Moseley Architects to submit a draft report to the board.
After a review from Tony Bell with Moseley, the county may be able to utilize a 60-bed jail along with sending inmates to Blue Ridge Regional Jail.
In addition, the new court facility would include the circuit, general district, and juvenile and domestic relations clerk offices and courtrooms.
County constitutional officers would also be located within the space.
The board also approved a lease in the amount of $963,628.35 for a lease purchase agreement for 11 school buses.
According to finance director Kim Van Der Hyde, the buses will be in service to replace some of the older school buses that are aging and have high mileage.
Delegate Les Adams presented the family of Edwin R. Shields with a resolution in his memory Tuesday.
Adams read the resolution during the meeting, and noted his decades of service to the county as a supervisor and his work to bring a new courthouse to the county.
“I just want to say he loved this county and loved working to build this courthouse,” Joan Shields, Edwin’s wife of 63 years, said.
The board is set to hold a reorganizational meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2.
At the meeting, supervisors-elect Vic Ingram will be sworn in for the Tunstall District and Tim Dudley for the Staunton River District.
The next Board of Supervisor’s business meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17 in the Pittsylvania County General District Courtroom.