ROANOKE, Va. – A Campbell County man hopes to give voters in Virginia counties the option to secede and join West Virginia because of gun rights concerns.
Rick Boyer created a petition for a “Vexit,” or a Virginia exit inspired by the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” from the European Union.
“Splitting off from an oppressive government and governing ourselves is the most American thing," Boyer said. "That’s why America’s here.”
Boyer looked for signatures to his petition during a gun show at the Berglund Center in Roanoke on Saturday. He says the possibility of new gun laws in Virginia, as well as the movement in rural Virginia counties to establish themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries, inspired his petition.
“Folks who are concerned with our 2nd Amendment rights are probably the most motivated, the most mobilized, and the most afraid of what plans our Governor and legislature have," Boyer said. “This is not a show, this is not politicians talking. This is the voice of old Virginia.”
The idea for a Vexit has also been backed by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.
“Even if it doesn’t completely succeed, it will send a clear message," Falwell said regarding a possible Vexit in a news conference with Justice last week.
Boyer handed out thousands of Vexit fliers during the gun show, but some attendees such as Stephen Smith were not convinced that it is a realistic possibility. However, Smith said he is not surprised the rhetoric has reached this point, considering the power struggle concerning the Second Amendment in Virginia.
“The majority of counties in Virginia showed that they want their rights. I believe in our Second Amendment rights wholeheartedly, and I think our government is losing control of that," Smith said. “If the answer is this, then so be it. Obviously I’m a Virginian, and I’d like to stay a Virginian, but it’s got to be the right way.”