If you or someone you know currently lives in a county that is not yet a Sanctuary County, please read this post and pass it along to other people who might be interested. Let’s try to help out as many of our fellow patriots as we can.
Last week, I asked some people how to advise someone who is not in a Sanctuary County on how they could start the process of becoming a Sanctuary County. Initially, I got some sadly humorous responses that could be summarized in the following steps, “1. Don’t vote in state elections. 2. Wait for Democrats to take over and piss off Second Amendment supporters by introducing gun-grabbing legislation. 3. Wait for backlash when conservatives realize that they screwed up. 4. Go yell at your Board of Supervisors.”
The sad thing is that there is a kernel of truth in this summary. In some ways, this is actually the way things played out in Virginia. Now, many would argue that they did go out and vote, but it wasn’t enough to go up against millions of dollars in outside funding from the likes of Michael Bloomberg. There’s a lot of truth in that as well. However, I think that one thing that a large amount of people in Virginia and now across the country are learning is that they actually do have elected officials at the county/city level and these people can be swayed on topics of importance to their constituents.
So, how do I get started?
Now after the folks that I asked were done cracking jokes, they actually started giving some rather good advice. As someone who watched this process play out, I will admit that I recall many of these things occurring, though I may not have realized them at the time. One major thing to note about this process; unlike the media would like you to believe, this is not being led by the “gun lobby.” What they truly don’t want you to know I that this is as grassroots a movement as you are likely to find. They do not want you to know the extent to which they have infuriated, motivated and activated everyday Second Amendment supporters.
As a participant in this grassroots movement, I have encountered graphic designers offering their services for free to promote events, web developers creating sites (like the one you are currently reading) at their own expense to get the word out, regular citizens starting Facebook groups that explode into behemoths with more than 30,000 members, and men and women doing the yeoman’s work of gathering together the Resolutions from the various counties and municipalities that have debated and approved Sanctuary County status. Nobody asked us to do this, we all just looked for ways we could help out and we started pitching in. These are the types of people who made 90% of Virginia counties adopt Second Amendment Sanctuary County status in 43 days and they are people just like you.
Let’s be 100% clear on one thing: you don’t have to be special to get this process started. You just have to give enough of a damn about your rights being trampled to step up and get involved. This post will give you some information and starting places that you can use to get involved, but you will have to actually get off your backside and do some work to make it happen.
Guess what… You can get off your couch today and drive 10 minutes (maybe further, depending upon your locality) to your Sheriff’s office and talk to him or her about becoming a Sanctuary County. This isn’t a big secret. The Sheriff is (at least in Virginia) an elected official. If he or she wants to get reelected, they are going to have to listen to their constituents. Do you know who is a constituent of your local Sheriff? Yeah, that would be you… So, either hop in your car or hop on the phone, but however you go about it, you need to hop to it.
“They want us to take your guns from you, but I’d like to know who is going to take my guns from me before I take anybody’s guns?”Tazewell County Sheriff
I will note that in multiple cases now across Virginia, county Sheriffs have made speeches at Board of Supervisors meetings where they made it clear that they are constitutional elected officials. They make it known in no uncertain terms that they have taken oaths to uphold the Constitution of the United States and that they have no intention of enforcing any state laws that conflict with the constitutional rights of the citizens of their county. This is a BIG deal; because the Sheriff, at least in Virginia, is the chief law enforcement official in the county. If the state passes an unconstitutional law and the Sheriff refuses to enforce it, then it may as well not have been passed at all.
I will add one other note here. These Sheriffs are being completely serious in their stance on this issue. To paraphrase the Sheriff in Tazewell County when he spoke at their Board of Supervisors meeting, “They want us to take your guns from you, but I’d like to know who is going to take my guns from me before I take anybody’s guns?” The Sheriffs are not just joking around here, so get a hold of your Sheriff and see where they stand. Who knows, they may be on your side in this. If not, perhaps you can get enough support behind you to sway them?
Board of Supervisors
According to Wikipedia (I don’t like citing Wikipedia, but this definition seems to be accurate enough), “A board of supervisors is a governing body that oversees the operation of county government in the American states of Arizona, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as 16 counties in New York. There are equivalent agencies in other states.
In some states the equivalent body to a Board of Supervisors is called the county council or county commission; for Louisiana parishes, the equivalent body is a Police Jury. In New Jersey, the equivalent is the Board of chosen freeholders, while in Kentucky the equivalent is called the Fiscal Court. In Nebraska, some counties are governed by a board of supervisors while others are governed by a county commission. In New York, counties are governed by a county legislature, a board of representatives, or a board of supervisors.”
I thought I should include a definition of a Board of Supervisors here because your state may not have something called a Board of Supervisors at the county level. We do have some folks trying to create a resource for you to easily find and reach out to your county’s governing body, but for now, just know that you do have leadership at a county level and that these are some of the main individuals you are going to have to petition in order to get the Second Amendment Sanctuary County process started in your county. These Boards of Supervisors are made up of individual Supervisors who run in county elections and represent various districts within the county. If you don’t know who your Supervisor is, hop on Google and find out. If you do know who it is, hop on the phone and talk to them about becoming a Sanctuary County. You could also consider sending them an email or messaging them on Facebook, but the main idea here is you actually have to reach out to them.
In Spotsylvania County, Virginia, “The County Attorney’s Office provides legal counsel to the Board of Supervisors, the County Administrator, and all County officers, departments, agencies, commissions and boards. The County Attorney’s Office also represents the County in matters of litigation.”
In Tazewell County, Virginia, “The County Attorney’s Office handles many legal issues for Tazewell County, which include the following: approval of subdivision plats; approval of Erosion and Sediment (E&S) control permits; rights-of-way for public streets; water and sewer project development; natural gas development; economic development projects; public contracts; public procurement; Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests; government personnel issues; resolutions and ordinances; DSS child protective services and adult protective services cases; delinquent real property tax collection; and other priorities set by the Board of Supervisors.”
I am including the County Attorney on this list because, in the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors meeting, they discussed the fact that they worked closely with the County Attorney to develop a resolution that they thought had the most “teeth in it,” and could best be argued if they ever had to take a fight to the courts. The County Attorney helped the Board of Supervisors attempt to create a resolution that they thought would be a winner in a court case, so getting this person on your side should be a priority as well. Especially, considering that liberals just love taking these fights to the courts. It doesn’t hurt that this is often an elected position. If the County Attorney you have currently isn’t on your side, you can work to get someone else in that office in the next election. Another possibility is that you can get enough people to contact the County Attorney’s office that they understand that if they do not support this effort, they are likely not to be reelected in the next election cycle.
Local Gun Rights Advocacy Organizations
Most people know about the National Rifle Association (NRA), however, I’d wager that even the majority of Virginians were unaware that there was an organization called the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). Yet, to be honest, I really have not seen much if any participation by the NRA in this effort to push for Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties, but I have seen VCDL all over the place. This might seem odd, considering that everyone wants us to believe that the so-called gun lobby is running this thing.
I’ll admit that I had only heard about the VCDL back in October. Yet, in many ways, the VCDL has taken a leadership role in the push to adopt Sanctuary County status across Virginia. That is not to say that they are actually leading the entire effort, but that they helped to open the eyes of Virginians to the fact that we were not without recourse. Were it not for the VCDL, many Virginians like myself would never have heard of a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, let alone had any idea that we could become one.
VCDL is not the only local organization involved in this movement either. I’ve seen a number of other organizations such as the Virginia Gun Owners Forum, Fredericksburg Virginia Patriots, the Second Amendment Alliance and many local gun stores getting involved as well. The point here is not to list every gun rights group in Virginia, but to point out that there are likely organizations in your area that can help you get the word out about your efforts to become a Sanctuary County. This is very important, too; because in order to convince a Board of Supervisors (or whatever they are called in your county) to go along with such an idea, you are going to have to show them that there are a LOT of people/voters in their districts who want them to do so.
These gun rights organizations have may have many followers on social media, email distribution lists, mailing lists, potential contacts with local politicians and media, etc. It certainly can’t hurt to reach out to them and encourage them to get into the fight. They may already be working toward the same goal and you can instead ask them how you can help them.
Another thing that organizations such as the VCDL can do is help organize rallies and coordinate bussing. If you visit their homepage today, you will see that there is a list of buses from all over Virginia that will be transporting citizens from their area to Richmond to attend the Lobby Day rally. They have also set up carpools and coordinated guest speakers. They have been doing a tremendous amount of work to support this cause. If you have an organization like the VCDL in your area, you should definitely reach out to them.
Obviously, if you want to get a large group of people to participate, you will need a means by which to communicate with them. One method that has proved to be particularly useful is the utilization of Facebook Groups. Facebook pages are also useful, but some of the best engagement I have seen is from various groups on Facebook. VCDL created a Facebook group and it has more than 15 thousand members at the time I wrote this post. I joined another group on Facebook that was created in November and had grown to more than 19 thousand members within 11 days. As I write this, that group is over 34 thousand members. You may find that the adage, “if you build it, they will come,” will apply in this case.
The point here is that you should look for some good Facebook groups for your state or county, and if there is not one already, go ahead and create one. People will very likely find your group and join it on their own and you can invite your friends and encourage them to invite their friends. I have seen how quickly these things can grow so go ahead and give it a shot. You might be surprised. Make sure you appoint some dependable moderators and admins as well.
Another place you can start from is your local gun shops. They often have Facebook pages and websites where they can get the word out about any efforts you may be making to pursue Sanctuary County status. It also helps that their customers are the exact same people that you’ll want to reach. If you are organizing an effort to turn your county into a Sanctuary County, it might be in their interest to help you.
Other Forms of Communication
It should come as no surprise that there are forms of communication other than online ones that you can pursue. One great example of those is the ubiquitous bright orange, “Guns Save Lives” stickers that the VCDL has been distributing. I’ve seen other people talking about how they printed up their own flyers and handed them out, mailed them out, left them at gun shops, put them under car windshield wipers, had businesses post them in their windows and on doors, etc. Just because we have the Internet doesn’t mean you can’t do things the old-fashioned way.
In order for your county to become a Sanctuary County, your Board of Supervisors is going to have to submit a resolution to be voted on. The process may be different in your area, but here in Virginia, our county Boards of Supervisors have been introducing resolutions and voting on them. Thankfully, there are now dozens of examples for you to choose from to see how other people have been crafting their resolutions. No need to recreate the wheel; you can just look at what some other county has done and then tailor their resolution to suit your county’s needs.
One of the more interesting county resolutions was introduced in Tazewell County. Well, technically, they introduced 2 separate resolutions. One resolution was created to promote the order of militia within Tazewell County. The other resolution was to declare Tazewell County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. I was not able to find actual copies of those resolutions, so I decided to listen to the audio recording of the Board of Supervisors meeting, and I transcribed the resolutions myself. Below are links to both resolutions.
- A RESOLUTION PROMOTING THE ORDER OF MILITIA WITHIN TAZEWELL COUNTY VIRGINIA PURSUANT TO THE SECOND AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND THE CONSTITUTION OF VIRGINIA
- SECOND AMENDMENT SANCTUARY RESOLUTION
Additionally, I created a Google Drive folder where I will add other examples of Sanctuary County resolutions for you to use. I will add more resolutions to this folder as I get them.
I have included a few editable versions of these resolutions in the folder linked to just above. You can download the editable version, swap out the name and change out any info that doesn’t work for your county and then get your Board of Supervisors (or whatever they are called in your area) to introduce the resolution at the next meeting and vote on it. I will also be adding some template resolutions to that folder in the near future.
One thing you may note is that many of the counties have made sure to include the applicable language from their State Constitution in their resolutions to show that not only are they appealing to a higher law at the federal level, but that they are also doing so at the state level as well. Thankfully, in Virginia, our State Constitution has language that is quite similar to the Second Amendment. If your state has something similar, look it up and add it as a clause in your resolution. If you aren’t sure whether your State Constitution has any such language, hop on Google, find it and read it. If such language is in there, then include it. Here is how this was done in the case of Tazewell County:
WHEREAS, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Virginia being Article 1 Section 13 states that a well-regulated militia, comprised of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper natural and safe defense of a free state, therefore the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
As you can see, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Virginia might actually have stronger language than the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, so it can’t hurt to include it. Once you have a resolution worked up, you need to get it to your Board of Supervisors and have them add that to the agenda for an upcoming meeting.
Board of Supervisors Meetings
Make sure you did your prep work
These are where the rubber meets the road. Preferably before you get to this point, you will already have built a groundswell of support for the effort so that on the day of your Board of Supervisors meeting, you will have a thousand or so concerned citizens showing up to voice their support for the resolution (or resolutions). Additionally, it would be a great idea for you to reach out to each of the board members and get a feel for where they stand on the issues. You should have already contacted the Sheriff to see if he or she is on board and will show up to support the resolution.
You may want to reach out to some political candidates running for office in the upcoming elections as well because they tend to want to show up and give some great speeches to help make a name for themselves. We had a number of individuals who are running for offices in Virginia that came out to speak in support of our resolutions. We’ve shared a few of them on the site already. Aside from speaking at events, they can also get the word out to their constituents letting them know that they will be at the event speaking, so it’s kind of a win-win.
Sign petitions, register voters and deliver next steps
If your Board of Supervisors meetings go anything like those in Virginia have been going, you are going to experience one of the single greatest opportunities to get petitions signed and voters registered that you are ever likely to see. In our meeting in Spotsylvania, one of the speakers came up to the podium with more than 1,000 signed petitions. At this point you might want to think back to all the work it took to get to where you are and how much easier it would have been if you had 500 people to help you. Well, here’s your chance. Hand out informational flyers. Give people some next steps. Give them links to applicable Facebook pages and groups where they can get involved.
It’s great if you can get 1,000 people to show up to a local Board of Supervisors meeting, but it would be amazing if you can get those 1,000 people to become engaged and involved in promoting your efforts in the future. So, make sure you have thought about follow-up actions. What are the next steps people need to take? You got them to show up, now tell them how they can help going forward. Get them to sign up for mailing lists. Find volunteers to help out with various tasks. This is your chance to get people involved so don’t waste it.
If all goes well, your Board of Supervisors will vote in support of your resolution and your county will become a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. Congratulations, you did it! However, the fight is not over. As you may have seen, many gun grabbers remark, “these resolutions have no legal effect.” Well, that may or may not be true. I mean, if your Sheriff is on board and has vowed not to implement any unconstitutional laws, then the resolutions kinda do have a legal effect. If your Sheriff doesn’t arrest you for having a weapon that the gun grabbers have decided you shouldn’t be able to own, then technically the resolutions have had a legal effect.
Finally, while I attempted to make this post as exhaustive as I could, there are other steps that you can take and other places you can look for information. One great example is this article published in April of 2019 on Ammoland.com, by Dave Workman. Dave actually covers some other items like setting up rallies, reaching out to the media and gathering volunteers to travel to other counties to assist activists in those counties in getting up and running. He also has interviewed some of the individuals that really got this movement started and has included multiple resolutions that were drafted and submitted for votes by counties in Illinois, Maryland, and Colorado. It is definitely worth a read.
If you have any other suggestions of things that should be added to this post, please add them in the comments below.
Do you want to do something to fight against unconstitutional gun laws?
Well, have you registered to vote yet? Complaining about the new proposed laws with random people on social media is not going to solve the problem. You MUST register yourself to vote along with anybody else you know. Get your cousin, uncle, mother, father, niece, nephew and your best friend to register and vote. Then, on election day, for the love of God, show up! If you or someone you know is not already registered, find out how to do so here: https://vote.gov/