If you hear the term “sanctuary city” and immediately think of cities where undocumented immigrants can seek a form of refuge, you’d be right; however, the words ‘sanctuary city’ aren’t just being used to talk about immigrants these days. To be sure, a “2A sanctuary city” refers to a safe haven for gun owners – 2A standing for Second Amendment. The American Second Amendment sanctuary movement is very much alive in our country, and Virginia counties and localities are getting involved, too. Here’s what you should know about 2A sanctuary cities, and how you may be affected if you live in an area that designates itself as a Second Amendment Sanctuary City, particularly in light of proposed legislation–
What Is a 2A Sanctuary City?
A Second Amendment sanctuary city is a local town’s or county’s attempt to resist its legislature’s decision–or proposal–to enact gun control measures. Essentially, if a jurisdiction passes a gun control measure that is deemed to be “restrictive,” a smaller jurisdiction–such as a city–passes a resolution in response declaring that the former is unconstitutional and, as such, will not be enforced. As referenced above, the designation “sanctuary city” is an adaptation of the immigration-related sanctuary city movement, where cities (or counties) determine not to ask immigrants about their legal status, even when federal authorities ask for cooperation and assistance.
Where Do 2A Sanctuary Cities Exist?
The Second Amendment sanctuary city movement is growing. To be sure, there have even been state-wide measures passed by a number of states, including Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Kansas, which declare that the states will not comply with any federal gun laws viewed as unconstitutional. In addition to the states that have taken a stance, there are also numerous counties throughout the country in states like Wyoming, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, and, yes, Virginia, that have declared themselves as 2A sanctuary cities, too. For example, in November of 2019, Lake County, Florida voted to become the first Second Amendment sanctuary city in the state, with Lake County Commissioner Josh Blake, telling reporters: “This draws a line in the sand.”
Second Amendment Sanctuary Cities in Virginia
Legal experts say that the declarations are largely symbolic, and don’t have any real legal “teeth,” so to speak. Like other states, laws that are made at the state level (i.e. passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the state governor) take precedence over local laws. As such, even if local cities or counties declare themselves as Second Amendment Sanctuary Cities, state law supersedes, and citizens and local officials are legally bound to comply with state laws, regardless of what local laws may say.
That being said, many gun owners who support Second Amendment sanctuary cities do so because it feels like the only way to take a stand to defend what such gun owners believe are their Constitutional rights. Whether or not local entities will actually enforce state laws regarding gun bans and gun control, should they be passed, is unclear. Additionally, whether such officials will face consequences for the failure to enforce state laws is also uncertain.
Gun Legislation Proposed
The “awakening” of gun rights advocates and those who support Second Amendment sanctuary cities comes in response to Virginian Democrats’ promises to pass stricter gun laws. One such law that’s been proposed is SB 16, which would classify the possession, transport, and sale of certain firearms and firearm magazines as a Class 6 felony crime which carries a maximum penalty of one to five years in prison or up to 12 months jail time with up to a $2,500.00 fine.
Learn More About Gun Laws by Speaking to Our Qualified Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have questions about gun laws, Second Amendment sanctuary cities, your rights as a gun owner, or what the penalties are for a violation of a weapons law, our experienced Richmond criminal defense lawyer at the law offices of Del Rio Law, PLLC can help. In addition to guiding you in regard to current weapons crimes and other criminal charges, Attorney Abraham Del Rio III can also answer your questions about proposed laws and potential violations of these laws. Should SB 16 (or any other gun control-related measures) pass, our law firm can advise you of your rights under the law, as well as what may happen should you choose to breach the law.
If you are facing weapons charges in our state or have questions about gun laws, our lawyer can help. To learn more, please reach out to our law firm directly by calling today or send us a confidential message using the intake form on our website.