After 75 counties preemptively declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries in anticipation of future gun control laws, Virginia Democrats have threatened law enforcement officials in those counties with potential prosecution, according to the Washington Examiner.
In Second Amendment sanctuary counties, similar to liberal illegal immigration sanctuary cities, law enforcement officials would avoid prosecuting people for violations of laws they don't agree with. Virginia Democratic U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly told the Examiner that such a decision may carry serious consequences.
"I would hope they either resign in good conscience, because they cannot uphold the law which they are sworn to uphold, or they're prosecuted for failure to fulfill their oath," Connolly said. "The law is the law. If that becomes the law, you don't have a choice, not if you're a sworn officer of the law."
One lawmaker said the governor should consider deploying the National Guard to enforce gun laws in sanctuary counties.
"They certainly risk funding, because if the sheriff's department is not going to enforce the law, they're going to lose money," Virginia Democratic U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin said. "The counties' attorneys offices are not going to have the money to prosecute because their prosecutions are going to go down. And ultimately, I'm not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law. That's his call, because I don't know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that's obviously an option he has."
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) seemed to contradict himself on the issue, saying there wouldn't be retaliation for sanctuary counties, but there would be consequences.
"There's not going to be retaliation. That's not what I'm about. I'm about making Virginia safer," Northam said. "If we have constitutional laws on the books and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be consequences, but I'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it."
The threats and suggestions come after gun-rights advocates in the state won a minor victory, when Northam announced that any proposed ban on assault weapons would include a grandfather clause. Under such a clause, legal owners of banned guns could keep them, but would be required to register the weapons.