Richmond, VA – The Virginia attorney general vowed to enforce controversial new gun-control laws even as Democratic legislators in the state were gearing up for the showdown by increasing the state’s corrections budget.
“When the General Assembly passes new gun violence legislation, they will be followed, and they will be enforced,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday, according to WUSA.
“We’re talking about very reasonable gun violence legislation that has broad public support,” Herring insisted.
But other politicians and law enforcement officials had a very different opinion on what will happen as a result of new gun-control laws passed in the 2020 legislative session, WUSA reported.
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman-At-Large Corey Stewart represents an area that has declared itself a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
“That doesn’t mean that the localities and the local sheriffs have to use their resources to enforce a gun confiscation law, or any other unconstitutional law that Democrats and the general assembly pass,” Stewart pointed out to WUSA.
He said opposition to the newly-proposed gun-control laws is strong across the entire state.
“The Attorney General is delusional if he thinks this is just some movement that’s been ginned up by the so-called gun lobby,” Stewart said. “This is a groundswell movement if there ever was one.”
A number of sheriffs have spoken out and said they will not enforce the proposed gun laws if they area passed.
When Virginia Governor Richard Northam threatened there could be consequences for the counties that didn’t follow the new laws, some sheriffs announced that they had figured out how to do it without violating their oaths of office.
“If the legislature decides to restrict certain weapons I feel harms our community, I will swear in thousands of auxiliary deputies in Culpeper,” Culpepper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins, who was just re-elected for a third term in office, said. “There’s no limit to the number of people I can swear in.”
Despite the pushback, the Democratic-controlled state legislature is getting prepared to lock up Virginians who refuse to fall in line with their new gun-control laws, and they’ve even added money to the state budget to account for that additional load on the state agency that runs the prisons.
Item 402 in Virginia House Bill 30, the state’s most recent budget proposal, included a $250,000 bump for the Department of Corrections “for the estimated net increase in the operating cost of adult correctional facilities resulting from the enactment of sentencing legislation as listed below.”
Specifically, the bill allotted $50,000 to cover the cost of offenders locked up because of the new law that allows “the removal of firearms from persons who pose substantial risk to themselves or others.”
It also dedicated another $50,000 for housing those offenders who violated the new law that prohibited “the sale, possession, and transport of assault firearms, trigger activators, and silencers.”
The legislation gave the Department of Corrections another $50,000 to put towards increased sentences of individuals who allow a child access to an unsecured firearm.
The budget also allowed $50,000 for incarceration of those who violate the new law prohibiting possession of firearms by persons subject to protection orders and another $50,000 for offenders who violate the new required background checks for all firearms sales.
Sheriff Jenkins told the Culpepper Star-Exponent that he didn’t think that all of the proposed anti-gun measures would pass on the first try.
“Personally, I don’t think some of the bills that are proposed will pass, I don’t think we’re that far left in Virginia,” the sheriff added, according to the Culpepper Star-Exponent.
He said thousands of residents in his county already had concealed-carry permits, including for guns with normal-capacity magazines – something the Democrats believe should be outlawed.
Sheriff Jenkins quoted Founding Father Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to make his point.
“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms,” he quoted.
The sheriff called efforts to restrict magazine size ridiculous and “insane,” and criticized lawmakers who wanted to punish everyone for the misdeeds of a few, the Culpepper Star-Exponent reported.
“You can create just as much harm and death in a school with an environment of an active shooter with a shotgun in five or 10 minutes as you could with most other weapons,” Sheriff Jenkins told the assembled group.