Second Amendment supporters turned out in force Dec. 3 at the Fairfax County, Va., Board of Supervisors meeting to voice concerns about proposed state and county gun-control legislation. Supporters requested in a public comments forum that the Fairfax County support the Second Amendment and not push further gun-control legislation.
In a meeting room with a 440-person capacity, every seat was filled. Supporters also lined walls and spilled out into the atrium, waiting more than two hours past the advertised time for public comments before they could address the board.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is almost entirely made up of Democrats, and the supervisors have made it clear they want to pass gun-control measures. Their preliminary draft of 2020 legislative measures says they will work toward:
- “Universal” background checks;
- Red-flag laws;
- Bans on “assault weapons,” “high-capacity” magazines, and bump stocks;
- A “one-gun-a-month” law;
- Restrictions on children’s access to firearms;
- Banning pneumatic guns (e.g., air rifles) on school grounds with exceptions for school-sponsored activities;
- Allowing local governments to prohibit firearms on properties owned by the locality, with certain exceptions.
At the state level, Second Amendment supporters were particularly concerned about SB 16, which would expand the definition of “assault weapons” to include many standard firearms, restrict the sale and possession of guns they designate as such, limit shotguns carried in public to seven rounds, and restrict magazine capacity for all firearms to 10 or fewer rounds.
The Board of Supervisors allows public comments on any topic quarterly, during which only 10 people may speak, for three minutes each. Eight of the speakers at the Dec. 3 meeting spoke in favor of the Second Amendment, and none against it.
The speakers highlighted many problems with the proposed legislative agendas at the county and state level. Two speakers reminded the board of how disarming citizens can lead to tyranny; one cited the current situation in Hong Kong, and the other recounted her family’s history under the Nazis. Some people spoke about their need for self-defense and about the positive impact of shooting sports on youth. Others described the immense popularity of hunting in the state.
Several speakers listed statistics to support their case, such as noting how few deaths have actually resulted from the criminal misuse of the rifles legislators seek to ban, FBI statistics on declining violence nationwide, and studies on similar legislation concluding these measures make no difference to overall suicides or gun violence. “Anybody who knows anything about data will say these are not ‘common-sense’ gun laws because they’re proven not to work,” one speaker told America’s 1st Freedom.
Each speaker finished to loud applause from the audience. The supervisors did not respond to the pro-Second Amendment speakers.
“I was disappointed that the board made no comment whatsoever,” one attendee said.
In follow-up interviews, attendees told America’s 1st Freedom they had written to the supervisors before the board meeting to request that the county support the Second Amendment.
Letter writers forwarded the terse response they received from supervisor Jeffrey C. McKay, explaining the writers’ request would be “in conflict with what’s been a longstanding position of the Board of Supervisors.”
“Does that mean they have a position against the Constitution of the United States and of Virginia?” one citizen asked America’s 1st Freedom.
While the Fairfax County supervisors have made it clear they are likely to push more gun-control measures, the sea of Second Amendment supporters at the Dec. 3 meeting may still make them consider how voters will react to such measures.
“Virginia is the birthplace of liberty. It has provided so many patriots over the course of our nation’s history, and that’s happening again,” one attendee told America’s 1st Freedom. “I see American patriots standing up for their rights. The enthusiasm is amazing. It feels like the Fairfax County I grew up in and love. It’s still here. It’s not a lost cause.”