Publisher's note: This post, by Ray Nothstine, was originally published in Civitas's online edition.
The recent rally in Richmond, Virginia pushing back against proposed gun control laws is receiving a lot of national attention. Attendance at the rally was estimated at 22,000 to 30,000. The Second Amendment sanctuary movement is even expanding to North Carolina, where 12 counties
have officially signed on.
In North Carolina, those following the proposed gun control laws
in Virginia know that there are some similarities to what gun control activists want here
. The obvious difference, at least right now, is that the legislature in North Carolina is more conservative than Virginia.
The NC House can immediately put a halt to the trendy gun control laws that find more favorability in left-leaning states. Republicans in the General Assembly aren't always champions of expanding Second Amendment rights though and are even falling behind
more conservative states. There were missed opportunities to scrap the Jim Crow era pistol permit
and pass constitutional carry. Still, most of the NC House Republicans signed a letter
in support of the sanctuary movement.
Over in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northum called a special session to secure new laws in the wake of a workplace mass shooting in Virginia Beach on May 31, 2019.
Virginia, of course, has an exploding sanctuary gun movement pushing back on the expected laws. Some sheriffs
, particularly since they are elected, are on record saying they will not support what they deem to be unconstitutional laws in conflict with the Second Amendment. What stands out more than that to me is that over 90 percent of counties in Virginia have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. It shows the power of Northern Virginia, and some of the other urban enclaves, to exert their will on much of the state. Something that is not unimaginable here in North Carolina.
At any rate, some of the proposed legislation includes red flag laws, capping the number of pistol purchases to one a month, and a ban on "assault rifles," a nebulous term often used for certain semi-automatic firearms. At least two of those proposals are continually introduced in North Carolina
, with support from Gov. Roy Cooper.
The sanctuary resolutions don't have any legal teeth but they do amount to considerable pushback. One Virginia Democrat lawmaker even insisted that the governor might have to mobilize the state National Guard
to enforce the laws. Not likely, given that current firearms that are owned won't be seized, but wild, nonetheless.
Gov. Cooper most likely wants to keep this grassroots movement on the back burner in North Carolina, preferring to keep the focus on teacher pay and education spending. However, the surge to defend the Second Amendment is something to keep an eye on in North Carolina. Given what has been proposed by some of the Democrats in the General Assembly, we are potentially one election away from many of the same gun control initiatives passing here.