Tazewell, Va. – Where do you sign up and when do drills start?
Those are the questions county leaders and employees are hearing since the board of supervisors voted late last year to form a militia in response to fears the legislature will pass gun control measures when it convenes in two weeks.
County Administrator Eric Young said he and others are giving a stock answer to the numerous enquiries about the militia. That answer is “On Dec. 3rd, 2019, our Board of Supervisors chose to exercise some of its rights under the Virginia Constitution to order or regulate militia. By insuring that our residents have the opportunity (1) to possess certain types of firearms, (2) to educate themselves on their use, (3) to learn common military practices, and (4) to learn basic survival skills, we hope to preserve a group of residents who could form a militia, were such a body needed. Without these most basic elements our County would not have a group of persons from whom a militia could be drawn. At the moment, however, the Board has not called any such militia to arms and prays that such moment never occurs."
Tazewell County was one of more than 50 counties across the state to pass second amendment sanctuary resolutions following the Nov. 5 elections that saw Democrats take control of the legislature. The county also adopted resolution stating it intended to exercise its right under article one section 13 of the state constitution to form a county militia.
The motion also called for the county to support and offer concealed weapons classes for its citizens and ROTC and firearms training in it s schools. The resolution calls for withholding county funds from any agency that seeks to enforce laws that infringe on people’s second amendment rights.
Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion late last month that second amendment sanctuary resolutions had no binding authority. Herring said elected officials would be expected to enforce laws passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor.
Some counties that passed just the second amendment sanctuary bill are now considering following Tazewell County’s lead and calling for a militia. A large crowd of Wythe County residents attended its December supervisors meeting to ask for a militia to be formed and many of the speakers carried copies of the Tazewell County ordinance.
Buchanan County passed both a second amendment sanctuary and a preservation ordinance at its December meeting. That board also requested its county attorney write Governor Northam a letter demanding he resign due to his stance on gun control and abortion.
They later held a called meeting and tabled the request for the letter until new board members office take office this month. They were also asked to consider a militia ordinance this month.
The General Assembly officially convenes Jan. 8 and several gun control measures were pre-filed.