BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – On Monday night, Bedford County became the latest place in our region to declare itself a Second Amendment sanctuary.
The passed resolution had wording much stronger than in other places, threatening to withhold funding and threatening lawsuits.
Prior to Monday night’s meeting, county leaders expected a big crowd and moved the meeting to Liberty High School.
However, despite the larger space, the crowd was still over-capacity in the auditorium, forcing some to stand in the aisles, the lobby, or even outside. The fire code for the space was just shy of 800 people and there were close to 1,000 in attendance.
Those who couldn’t get in were disappointed and some of those who did get in were disappointed they could not bring their guns with them because the meeting had been moved to a high school campus, a place where guns are not allowed. The decision was not a highly questioned one - nearly all of the supervisors wore the signature blaze orange ‘guns save lives’ stickers.
The applause inside Liberty High’s auditorium was frequent and hearty. The supervisors voted unanimously to pass the resolution to become a Second Amendment sanctuary.
“The Second Amendment was not written so that we could have a gun for hunting, it was not even written only to protect ourselves from criminals," board chairman Tommy Scott said. "It was written that we could have guns to protect ourselves from the very government officials who are trying to take our guns away from us.”
The Bedford County version threatens to withhold funding and resources and states that the county does not intend to comply with any possible democratic-championed gun restrictions. Sheriff-elect Mike Miller was first at the podium and backed those feelings up.
“This agency will not be part to the violation of infringements upon or our community’s individual rights as it pertains to the United States Constitution,” Miller said of his department.
But before the vote, more than two dozen people stepped up to the microphone to speak, and it seemed more like a stage-show spectacle than a typical government public meeting. There were lots of noises from the crowd, numerous people spoke to the crowd and not the board, using the space upfront to move back and forth, and the board picked and chose when to enforce the time limit.
One man used his time to sing his feelings, others spoke of how they rely on their firearms to feel safe both at home and in public. Case Pieterman was the only person to speak against the resolution. Speaking with a foreign accent, he spoke of living in the county for more than 27 years before he was interrupted by someone in the crowd who yelled ‘go back to Venezuela.'
After a brief pause and some others in the crowd who came to his defense, Pieterman was heckled away from the microphone at the end of his comment time by numerous people in the crowd.
“I’m worried that our safety will be dependent on law enforcement’s interpretation of what is constitutional or not," Pieterman said.
The board thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and nearly everyone in attendance was pleased with the outcome.
A few of the supervisors offered remarks before casting their votes. Supervisor John Sharp said he wants more action to come and made a pointed statement about gun control supporters.
“I want people in Richmond and people in Northern Virginia who don’t understand us to, to feel personally uncomfortable,” Sharp said. “I want to make them consider going back to where they came from.”