Photo credit: Sheriff Scott Jenkins courtesy of Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, image manipulation by A1F staff.
Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County, Va., said he plans to deputize “thousands” of law-abiding gun owners if necessary to help protect them from sweeping gun control Democrats have proposed for 2020, should those measures become state law.
Jenkins made the remarks both in a meeting of the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 3 and in a Dec. 4 social-media post.
“Every Sheriff and Commonwealth Attorney in Virginia will see the consequences if our General Assembly passes further unnecessary gun restrictions,” Jenkins noted in his Facebook post. “‘Red Flag’ laws without due process will create enormous conflict as well. America has more guns than citizens and murder has long been illegal. At best, the proposed gun restrictions will disarm or handicap our law-abiding in their defense … I remain very optimistic that our General Assembly will not pass the proposed bills. Obviously, if passed, there are many of us willing to challenge these laws through the courts. In addition, if necessary, I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms.”
Jenkins, who has been working in law enforcement for 30 years, has been the sheriff of Culpeper County since 2012, according to the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office website. The county is located 60 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. and has about 47,000 residents.
Jenkins emphasized in later interviews that any new deputies would undergo the same background checks and psychological evaluations all new deputies receive. He also said having so many deputies would be a “big asset” to the community, as they must volunteer at least eight hours a month, and thus would be performing duties at no charge to the community.
“The announcement was surprising to me,” one man who attended the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors meeting said in an interview with America’s 1st Freedom. “I was not expecting him to go to that extent. I’m proud of him for standing up for the Second Amendment.” Asked whether he would want to be deputized if the new laws pass, the man responded, “I would be interested in hearing more if it really came to that. My guess is that it’s not going to get that extreme, but it’s good to know the sheriff is willing.”
Another Culpeper County resident, a teacher, said, “I’m glad I live in a place where they voted to protect our rights, even though I think it’s ridiculous it had to come to that!”
Virginia gun owners are particularly concerned about SB 16, which would expand the state’s definition of “assault weapons” to include many standard firearms, restrict the sale and possession of guns so defined, limit shotguns carried in public to seven rounds and restrict magazine capacity for all firearms to 10 or fewer rounds. The restrictions include not only the popular AR-15 rifle, more than 16 million of which are estimated to be in American homes, but also many other standard pistols, rifles and shotguns in common use for target shooting, hunting and self-defense.
Second Amendment supporters all over the state have been voicing their displeasure regarding the proposed measures to lawmakers both in person and in writing, and most county lawmakers have responded by affirming their support for the Second Amendment.
The substantial grassroots support of the Second Amendment has not seemed to influence the outlook of newly elected state-level Democrats very much. They’ve threatened funding to the counties and even suggested calling in the National Guard. However, Gov. Ralph Northam indicated on Dec. 9 that Democrats would now allow the guns they planned to ban to be “grandfathered,” provided they are registered. Grandfathering with a registration remains unacceptable to many Virginia gun owners.