Gun rights activists pushing for Second Amendment ‘sanctuaries’ across Pennsylvania

A gun rights group has volunteers working across Pennsylvania lobbying to get county leaders to pass Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinances that declare that local officials won’t comply with what it considers unconstitutional restrictions on firearms law.

Bradford County officials approved such a resolution in December declaring the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

The Gun Owners of America in Pennsylvania is organizing efforts to get Bradford and the rest of the state’s 67 counties to go a step further and pass ordinances that explicitly state that county resources won’t be used to support federal or state laws that restrict the Second Amendment unconstitutionally, said Val Finnell, state director for the GOA…

After an explosion of Second Amendment Sanctuary votes in Virginia, that state’s Attorney General Mark Herring released an advisory opinion on Dec. 20 concluding the Second Amendment sanctuaries “have no legal effect.”

Local governments “are required to comply with all laws enacted by the General Assembly until those laws are repealed by the legislature or invalidated by the judiciary,” Herring wrote.

Even if a non-binding resolution carries little legal weight, it could still influence the way law enforcement officials do their job, said Nelson Lund, a law professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

“To the extent that police chiefs and especially prosecutors view these actions by local governments as reflections of widespread community sentiment, they may feel more comfortable in adjusting their own exercise of discretion in making arrests and in charging decisions,” Lund said. “At least in that sense, it is probably not accurate to characterize them as mere ‘publicity stunts.’”…

The Second Amendment Sanctuary issue took in Virginia after Democrats took control of both chambers of the state Legislature, Finnell said.

After a mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left the shooter and 12 other people dead, Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam introduced an eight-point gun control plan. The plan included a ban on the sale of assault weapons and a ban on silencers and high-capacity magazines. The governor later said Virginians who already own assault weapons will not be forced to turn in their guns but will be forced to register their assault weapons with the state by a certain deadline.

The move to establish Second Amendment Sanctuaries across Pennsylvania “is a pre-emptive strike” in mobilizing to demonstrate the political power of voters interested in gun rights issues ahead of the 2020, Finnell said.

Gun rights activists in Pennsylvania learned from what took place in Virginia and are trying to mobilize before gun control gets too much momentum in Harrisburg, he said….

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