The Rank Hypocrisy of Rural Gun Sanctuaries

by Peter Galuszka

When Donald Trump ran for president on a platform of virulent xenophobia, one of the rallying cries he favored was the idea that liberal-minded localities were forming “sanctuary cities” and would not cooperate with federal immigration officials on the prowl for undocumented aliens.

Right-wing Virginia politicians, notably Corey A. Stewart, who led anti-foreign hate raids when he was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County, locked onto the idea with a vengeance. Listed as “sanctuary” cities were places like Virginia Beach and Richmond.

The problem was that they were no such cities or counties. True, short-funded police departments tended to stick to their real work – enforcing local and state laws as they should – but there were no formal pronouncements of “sanctuary cities.”

So, it is indeed ironic that the anti-control mob is creating a series of so-called “sanctuary” cities and counties where authorities will refuse to enforce gun control laws. So far, the counties of Appomattox, Campbell, Carroll, Charlotte, Patrick and Pittsylvania have declared themselves ‘Second Amendment Sanctuaries,” reports the Washington Post.

What that really means isn’t exactly clear because no locality, in Virginia or elsewhere, can pick and choose what laws they want to enforce.

The real reason for this, naturally, is that come January, Democrats will control the General Assembly and the chairs of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. No longer will conservative Republicans be able to shut down any reasonable gun control reform simply by stifling it in committee.

The fact is that most Virginians, certainly those in larger and more sophisticated areas, favor reasonable gun control reform, such as requiring universal background checks before gun purchases and limiting high-capacity magazines on firearms. It is more likely that some measures will now succeed.

What’s curious is that the counties that are now “sanctuaries” only have relatively small numbers of residents who have concealed carry permits, according to NBC News Washington. The largest number is in Patrick County with 16.59%. The lowest is Charlotte County with 9.71%.

Mind you, we’re talking about pistols, not shotguns or rifles used for hunting. The main similarity among the counties is that they are fairly rural areas. I don’t have figures but I doubt they have high assault or murder rates. If there is to be bloodletting, it probably involves a domestic squabble or tiffs among drunken friends in parking lots.

But one can’t change the mentality of many Virginians on guns. Two years ago, I did an opinion piece in The Washington Post asking why so many bearded, mean-looking guys were wandering around the “Unite the Right” rally with assault rifles, magazine pockets, body armor and other instruments of destruction.

That’s because Virginia is one of two-dozen states or so that have open carry laws. These dudes could not have strutted around with their Bushmasters in Maryland which bans bringing firearms to public demonstrations. If you are thinking about bringing your AR-15 or any firearm to a public rally in D.C., you will be arrested.

Now I am sure I am going to get a lot of personal attacks after I post this item. For the record let me say that I do not favor collecting all legal firearms. I have owned a rifle since I was 11 years old. I grew up in part in West Virginia and North Carolina where hunting or target shooting are a big part of life.

I do not need a lecture about what guns can do. I saw plenty when I was a police reporter for two newspapers and as a foreign correspondent for an American magazine.

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26 responses to “The Rank Hypocrisy of Rural Gun Sanctuaries

  1. Agree on the hypocrisy, it’s all absurd. The Supreme Court is going to have to take on gun rights as a state/locality right vs federal/constitutional limit. Bullets crossing the Francis Scott Key Bridge don’t know their jurisdiction.

  2. Peter, I’m not clear on what it is that you are attempting to say.

  3. I’m actually not sure what the local authorities enforce anyway. If the state bans the sale of certain equipment, say military-style semi-autos, would the local cops be in the gun stores checking? It is the State Police who run the background check system, and I assume they would charge a store that failed to check a sale, not the local sheriff.

    The two things I expect to happen in January that will have the biggest impact are requiring a background check on additional sales, perhaps in gun shows, and some form of red flag gun confiscation scheme. Perhaps that second one will be hard to enforce without local police participating, but would you want to be the police chief who refused to execute a warrant on a property, and then the target of the warrant commits a school shooting three days later? No, you would not want to be that police chief.

    Easy for some county supervisor to vote for this, but the real pressure will be on the law enforcement leadership and that government’s legal adviser. I would expect retailers would seek to comply with the law without being coerced, with the issue being private sales, etc.

    Peter of course is deluding himself and attempting to delude us that the “sanctuary” movement against enforcing immigration laws is non-existent or harmless. It may not be a big VA issue, but it happens. Accepting that and condemning this would be open hypocrisy. How about we condemn both.

  4. How about we enforce E-Verify ? If we did not – illegals would have a much tougher time getting a job and instead of demonizing people, we go after the folks who are causing the problem?

    We COULD HAVE an effective guest worker program in this country if we really wanted to – and by doing that -and enforcing E-Verify, we’d weed out the employers who prey on those who do not have any worker protections.

    On the other hand, if we’re really going to have various kinds of sanctuaries why not one for weed – especially those Appalachia counties that are in terrible economic straights! Win – WIN!

    • The whole immigration structure needs overhaul. The reason E-Verify has fallen on hard times is that everyone (except perhaps ICE) gives the wink-wink, nod-nod treatment to enforcement against local businesses (agricultural, seasonal tourism, seafood prep, you name it) that CANNOT find legal applicants for their open menial positions; local, often elected, sheriffs and police know they’d put these local employers out of business and locals don’t do that to one another. I agree, we could enforce E-Verify, and should, along with appropriate provision for work visas for the necessary numbers of guest workers these businesses are unable to hire legally to take the heat off the enforcers.

      • Yes, immigration does need an overhaul. If the f—h–d employers would pay higher wages they’d get workers. But they are scummy crony capitalists looking for subsidies.

        Hiring illegal immigrants drives down wages and a majority of workers in just about every occupation identified by the Census Bureau are U.S.-born. A recent article in National Review stated and asked: “For example, more than half of maids are native-born, as are 64 percent of meatpackers, 65 percent of construction laborers, and 66 percent of groundskeepers. Wages in all of these sectors show stagnation or long-term decline, so if there is a great need for such workers, why not let wages rise? Higher wages would increase work incentives and improve the lives of the poorest and least educated Americans.” The very people the lefties purport to care about. Wrong. They think lower-skilled American workers deplorables. Ask Hillary. https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/08/12/unskilled-immigration-lowers-labor-force-participation/

        The idea that there are jobs Americans won’t do is just another lie. Of course, the dirt bag MSM won’t report this. That would be real journalism.

        • From what I’m hearing, the wages would have to rise to very high levels (like doubled) to attract US-born workers to many of these jobs — picking crabs, for example, or seasonal work at the beach-side resorts — this from people that own the businesses and write in the local (Mathews/Gloucester) weekly paper desperately soliciting applications from anyone. Obviously there is a pay-point at which the supply will respond to the demand but that point is way out of the range of what these businesses can afford. Result, not pricier picked crab meat but NO picked crab meat; not pricier shops and arcades at the beach but NO seasonal stores. And if any of these survive, they become way more unaffordable for ordinary folks.

          • Acbar – respectfully, you are ignoring the data. “For example, more than half of maids are native-born, as are 64 percent of meatpackers, 65 percent of construction laborers, and 66 percent of groundskeepers.” Businesses are attracting native born Americans to these jobs. If they cannot get workers, pay more. If they still can’t get workers, use lawful immigration procedures.

            See Wax & Richwine, “Low-Skill Immigration: A Case for Restriction,” American Affairs, https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/11/low-skill-immigration-case-restriction/

            The article discusses suits brought by the EEOC against companies that discriminate against non-Hispanics. I suspect many of these Americans are low-skilled people. Where are the progressives? They care more about illegal immigrants than citizens and the business voters looking for permission to violate the laws.

            Larry writes below about a failure to prosecute E-verify violations. If I were a judge, I’d be putting people in jail and not the Hispanics looking for work.

      • The problem is we CHOOSE to not prosecute E-verify – at the same time – we ARE prosecuting immigrants looking for work.

        And those same immigrants are being preyed upon by employers who know the workers can be treated unfairly – and badly.

        It’s one big hypocrisy where we demonize ordinary people looking for work – and look the other way for the employers who are violating the law and abusing the workers.

  5. >>So, it is indeed ironic that the anti-control mob is creating a series of so-called “sanctuary” cities

    Couldn’t it also be described as, “turnabout is fair play”

  6. Peter: re concealed carry permits, “The largest number are in Patrick County with 16.59%. The lowest is Charlotte County with 9.71%.” — Percent of what?

  7. Let’s look at this sophisticated diatribe;
    ‘What that really means isn’t exactly clear . . .’
    So WHAT are you complaining about? You have NO idea what will happen with these measures; you’re making statements from complete and utter ignorance.

    ‘The fact is that most Virginians, certainly those in larger and more sophisticated areas, . . . ’
    WOW! I guess we SW Virginians are part of the basket of deplorables.
    What exactly do you mean by that bigoted statement?

    ‘If there is to be bloodletting, it probably involves a domestic squabble or tiffs among drunken friends in parking lots.’
    WOW! What allows you to pull such sanctimonious BS out of your hind quarter?

    You should really base your writings on facts, or at least logical critical thinking.

  8. Condescend much? “Most Virginians in larger, more sophisticated areas…..” Now that the liberals have control of the state government, they can use some of their “large area sophistication” to help rural Virginia instead of just their special interests.

  9. So it’s a hard issue for Virginia due to our mixed politics and mixed rural/suburb split and military presence. Places like Wash DC formerly had tough gun laws, until NRA fought it, and I would ask if the data shows DC inadvertently increased crimes by disallowing guns. NJ had real strict gun laws, is the only reason I do not own at least one BB gun, but of course less extreme rural/suburb bifurcation perhaps allows that policy for them.

  10. I don’t think Red Flag laws will be of any real benefit. We already have laws that permit the law to require people to submit to a mental evaluation for a variety of reasons.

    And the problem with guns is that there are so many and so easily available that if someone really wants to get their hands on one to commit a nefarious deed – it’s just not that hard – no matter their actual mental state.

    We’ve just gotten confused on guns and weapons – and weapons that can kill a lot of people quickly.

    We’ve effectively outlawed machines guns – and I don’t see too many folks making the 2nd amendment argument on their availability. So we ban them because they are super deadly weapons that can kill a lot of people – quickly – but now technology has brought newer weaponry to the market – in the form of high capacity magazines that effectively convert weapons to near automatic capability .

    It’s one thing to have a weapon with 6 or 9 rounds in it for personal protection – it’s quite another for someone to be able to go into a public place and kill 30 people in less than a minute. Yet, we characterize all of it as “2nd amendment right”.

    • It’s my understanding that the ATF heavily regulates the transfer of certain weapons, including machine guns lawfully possessed prior to May 19, 1986, and prohibits the sale to individuals of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986. 27 CFR § 479.105.

      It’s also my understanding that with appropriate permits and fees, one can own other “big” weapons, including bazookas, anti-aircraft guns, field artillery and even a tank (but any machine guns must be pre-May 19, 1986). Part 479 contains lots of regulations and the ATF website provides more information.

      There have been a number of “reality” TV shows about licensed gun dealers/manufacturers and individual owners of these military weapons. https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/the-weapon-hunter/1003807

      Needless to say, big dollars and heavy regulations are involved. I doubt most people who have extra disposable income want to drop that much money on a weapon.

  11. Are there jobs Americans can’t do… I’m guessing not.
    But there are plenty of jobs Americans take a pass on (is that won’t do) because it’s easier to sit around at home and collect welfare.
    If the federal government got out of the UnConstitutional business of food stamps, housing assistance, Obama phones, WIC, TANF, medicaid, welfare in general and every other free goodie there would be plenty of Americans doing those jobs they won’t do now.

  12. Peter:

    I’m not sure why you believe there are no sanctuary localities in Virginia. I live in one along with 1M+ other Virginians.

    https://fairfaxgop.org/its-official-fairfax-is-a-sanctuary-county/

    You can go down the usual path of indicting the source but there’s no doubt that the barista wanna be’s in Fairfax County have partially nullified America’s immigration laws. Do an internet search on “Fairfax County sanctuary county” and you’ll find all the information you need from a variety of sources.

    Now, if the jackwagons here in Fairfax County can nullify laws they don’t like why shouldn’t the people in rural counties be able to do the same?

    As I’ve noted in the past some localities seem to have nullified Virginia’s marijuana possession laws – especially the City of Charlottesville.

    https://www.baconsrebellion.com/wp/differences-in-arrest-rates-for-marijuana-offenses-across-virginia-localities/

    So it’s OK to nullify laws that liberals find detestable but not laws conservatives find detestable? How interesting.

    I guess our new liberal Democratic overseers in Richmond can march the Virginia militia down to those rural counties and confiscate the guns. Oh, right … the liberal Democrats would only allow that imaginary militia to have printed copies of anti-gun violence editorials instead of guns. Yeah, that may not work.

    • re: ” So it’s OK to nullify laws that liberals find detestable but not laws conservatives find detestable? How interesting.”

      So are the laws that pertain to enforcing E-Verify also being nullified?

      If I saw the Feds wanting to do BOTH – then I might think they are actually serious about the problem – as opposed to wanting to demonize the undocumented.

  13. Just want to point out – there would be no real “sanctuary” localities if the Federal govt actually did enforce E-Verify.

    It they actually did that – you’d have a whole lot less need to actually enforce immigration laws because without access to jobs – they’d not be in those locations anyhow!

    This is what Canada does. They have guest worker laws and if empl9yers violate those laws the sanctions are severe – and not worth it for small businesses that essentially can lose their businesses if they violate the guest worker laws.

    Our problem is that we have employers who actually WANT undocumented workers because they are cheaper and the workers have no protections that legal workers have.

    It’s the big hypocrisy.

    We let these businesses abuse workers and then we send the immigration police to get the workers – not the businesses that abuse them.

  14. “What’s curious is that the counties that are now “sanctuaries” only have relatively small numbers of residents who have concealed carry permits, according to NBC News Washington. The largest number is in Patrick County with 16.59%. The lowest is Charlotte County with 9.71%.”

    Uh, those are HIGH numbers . . .
    (the numbers are based on total population from my experience )

  15. I’m not well informed on the issue. Why is concealed carry so important to some folks?

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