December 06, 2019
By Jim Grant
In response to the wave of proposed anti-gun legislation in Virginia, many of its cities and counties have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries. One county, in particular, took it a step further at their December 3rd County Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting.
In addition to passing their Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolution, the county also passed a Militia Resolution. This resolution formalizes the creation, and maintenance of a defacto civilian militia in the county of Tazewell. And to get a better understanding why the council members passed this resolution, Firearms News reached out to one of its members, Thomas Lester. Mr. Lester is a member of the council, as well as a professor of American History and Political Science.
Firearms News: Councilman Lester, what are the reasons behind passing this new resolution, and what does it mean for the people of Tazewell County?
Tom Lester: We understand the implications of this new resolution are potentially enormous, but we also understand the political importance of making the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
Declaring our county a Second Amendment Sanctuary is a great first step, however, Virginia is unique because of its constitution. Under Article 1 section 13 of the VA Constitution, VA must maintain a well-regulated militia composed of its people to validate its authority.
This is the political subdivision of legislature from which VA politicians derive authority - an authority expressly stated in the VA constitution.
This subsection makes it the responsibility of counties to maintain a militia, not a National Guard or other standing army.
This is because the purpose of the militia is not just to protect the county from domestic danger, but also protect the county from any sort of tyrannical actions from the Federal government. Our constitution is designed to allow them to use an armed militia as needed. If the (Federal) government takes those arms away, it prevents the county from fulfilling their constitutional duties. But, this is not limited to just our county, but also as part of a network of sister counties showing solidarity for both Virginia’s, and the American Constitution.
As for the people, our Militia Resolution will be funding firearms safety and training for our county’s citizens, the ROTC and the public school systems - as well as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. These preparations are done to prepare our citizens to be able to become de facto militiamen if need be.
Constitution of Virginia
Article I. Bill of Rights
Section 13. Militia; standing armies; military subordinate to civil power
“That a well regulated militia, composed 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; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”
This is incredible news coming from Virginia, and is likely a move that anti-gun lawmakers and politicians did not expect. While the coming days will likely be difficult for defenders of the Second Amendment in Virginia, it’s reassuring to know there are still staunch supporters willing to stand up the tyrannical actions of anti-gunners in the government. Multiple attorneys are on board, as well as a professor of U.S. government and history.
Look for an expanded article, by Mark Chesnut, on the situation in Virginia regarding over 40 gun-sanctuary counties, as well part two of the story Ignoring Core Purpose Makes 2nd Amendment More Vulnerable to Infringements: The Militia Aspect written by David Codrea.