At Wednesday’s Second Amendment Sanctuary meeting the voice of Augusta County was overwhelmingly in support of the designation.

The citizens spoke of their rights, the protection of life and property afforded by guns, and an affection for arms cultivated over generations.

While I confess I am not a gun guy; I am often in awe of those who are true traditionalists. Many of the comments were reminiscent of the Hank Williams Jr. song, “A Country Boy Can Survive.” But in that music Williams takes the time to make an interesting reference concerning a city friend and the fate he met.

“I had a good friend in New York City

He never called me by my name just hillbilly.

My Grandpa taught me how to live off the land

And his taught him to be a business man

…but he was killed by a man with a switchblade knife,

For forty-three dollars my friend lost his life.”

Hank Jr.’s message is clear; we can be friends with more than just the folks who live up the holler from us. And we need to appreciate the differences and number of dangers facing our urban friends that we will not face on switchback road or the Family Dollar.

The sanctuary movement must hope it can influence what happens in Richmond. It might. But more likely the way to achieve gun right goals is to sway legislators individually. To do this means first understanding the other guy’s reality and then crafting ideas that show empathy and mutual benefit.

Rural Virginia is losing clout every day. Putting together a meaningful coalition of like-minded Delegates and Senators will not be easy. There are not enough of them.

The most densely populated areas of our state are the fastest growing. This while 51 mainly rural counties have lost population since 2010. The reasons are known but not easily reversed.

The consequences are obvious. Despite aggressive Republican gerrymandering, following the 2010 Census, Democrats have secured all the state-wide offices, control of the General Assembly, both Senate seats and 7 of 11 Representatives in the House.

The Democratic dominance is more likely to grow than recede. The best Republicans can hope for, with the re-drawing of election districts in 2021, is fairness. If there is to be any hanky-panky in the redistricting, it will be in favor of the controlling party.

So despite the earnestness and passion of last week’s public forum, and notwithstanding the raw enthusiasm of the supervisors, what can gun owners expect to happen?

Many of the General Assembly’s new members were elected to pass gun and gun owner restrictions. Some will surely happen.

But I do not believe the new laws will be as many or as drastic as is being feared. Certainly taking guns is a bridge too far. As for the rest; there are too many vulnerable Democratic seats where going too far, too fast, would be fatal.

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade but even in sanctuary counties effective denial of new laws will not occur. The state has the law and budget on its side.

Don’t believe me? During the public hearing the supervisors were all puffed and ready to take on the world. “Don’t mess with Augusta” was one of the bold announcements.

“Constitutional Carry” is an example of how concealed carry is handled in truly Second Amendment friendly states and localities. No permitting is required.

Augusta County presently requires permitting. They charge $40 for the privilege (as opposed to actually considering it a “right”) and then subjugation to investigation.

If the Second Amendment sanctuary vote is to mean anything; the board will immediately take whatever steps, they think they have to end concealed carry permits. Not doing this means they can’t, or won’t, do as promised.

As usual this board took its normal “ready, shoot, aim” approach to government.

Unless gun stores are allowed to sell guns without registration, unless people are free to conceal weapons without a permit, and unless guns are permitted in board of supervisor meetings, this is not a Second Amendment sanctuary.

And what happens when a lawyer challenges a gun charge by noting this a gun sanctuary? My mind reels when considering the number of places this designation may give an opening for litigation. And which position will the county take: “we didn’t mean it” or “you’re free to go.”

Rescind the sanctuary designation or tell us how it furthers gun rights. The people deserve no less.

Tracy Pyles, a former chairman and member of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors who lives in Augusta County, is a columnist for The News Virginian. His column is published Saturdays.

(1) comment


"You can't win so bend over and take your anti-constitutional raping by Soros bought politicians in Richmond" Did I summarize that correctly, Pyles? First, if Richmond passes a law that is not in line with the US Constitution, Richmond absolutely does not "have the law on their side". If they pass any of their planned anti 2nd Ammendment legislation, it is our duty as American citizens to put a stop to their treason.

I have a question for you, Pyle. How does Richmond spitting on the supreme law of our land further gun rights?

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