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Virginia sheriff plans to deputize thousands of citizens to get around proposed gun control laws

Democratic-controlled legislature takes aim at state's gun owners

Advocates of gun reform legislation hold a candlelight vigil for victims of recent mass shootings outside the headquarters of the National Rifle Association Aug. 5, 2019, in Fairfax, Virginia. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A sheriff in Virginia said on Facebook last week that if the Democratic-controlled legislature in his state passes restrictive gun control laws, he may deputize thousands of citizens to allow them to be exempt from the laws.

Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins praised his county for becoming one of dozens of "sanctuary" counties in the state for gun owners and said he will exercise the power of his position to support gun rights, if necessary.

"I remain very optimistic that our General Assembly will not pass the proposed bills," Jenkins wrote. "Obviously, if passed, there are many of us willing to challenge these laws through the courts. In addition, if necessary, I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms."

As soon as Democrats took control of the legislature last month, with Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's support, lawmakers got to work on gun control bills, and gun rights advocates expressed concern.

The bills include previously rejected legislation that would require background checks on all gun transactions; ban "assault weapons," high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, and silencers; make it illegal to purchase more than one handgun per month; and implement "red flag" laws.

"Northam has declared war on Virginia's gun owners," said Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense Leagu.

Some counties are becoming Second Amendment "sanctuary" counties. That is a designation that doesn't have any formal legal meaning, but rather establishes informally that law enforcement will choose not to enforce or emphasize certain aspects of potential gun control laws.

A similar tactic has been used by liberal cities across the country, with law enforcement organizations in those cities refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when dealing with illegal immigrant criminal suspects.

(H/T: American Military News)

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