The Culpeper County 2A Facebook group had five rules.
Rule one was “Get Busy – Follow the Action Plan and take the necessary steps to protect our rights. Sharing memes isn’t enough. We need coordinated action.”
Rule two was “Do Not Give Up – We’re in the fight of our lives. Act accordingly. Never surrender.”
At some point in late January the rules changed, and rule two became “No racism”. But the basic purpose remained: Culpeper County 2A (the 2A stands for Second Amendment) was founded with the aim of resisting gun control bills working their way through the Virginia state legislature.
Similar groups are springing up across the state. Dozens of towns and counties are passing resolutions declaring themselves “second amendment sanctuaries” – a term borrowed from the “sanctuary cities” immigration movement of several years ago. The resolutions vary from county to county, but they broadly declare support for the second amendment and label the proposed state gun control laws as invalid.
Democrats won control of the Virginia House and Senate in November for the first time in 24 years, and they immediately proposed a raft of gun control measures from universal background checks to restrictions on high capacity magazines. The bills came as no surprise – the Democrats had campaigned heavily on gun control, backed by funding from activist groups which comprehensively outspent the National Rifle Association in its home state. Democratic candidates were responding to a growing clamour for gun control that began with the mass shooting of 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 and was amplified last year when a municipal worker slaughtered 12 people in Virginia Beach. When they won, the Democrats turned their proposals into bills and promised a wave of progressive legislation. Weeks later, the backlash began.
Nearly 200 Virginia municipalities have now passed second amendment sanctuary resolutions, turning the old Confederate capital into a kind of frontline once again. The driving force behind the resolution in Culpeper County was Patrick Heelen, a local attorney who founded the Culpeper County 2A group.
Heelen is a barrel-chested man, a little over six feet, who wears cowboy boots and has a long beard befitting his role as a captain in local Civil War battle re-enactments. He prefers the term “constitutional county” to second amendment sanctuary, because he believes the founding fathers intended to grant absolute gun rights to the population, in perpetuity.
“All eyes are on Virginia,” he told me. “America is watching what we do, how we conduct ourselves. America is watching to what extent we will be pushed around. America is watching to see if we are going to take a stand.”
I asked Heelen how far he and his fellow Culpeper County 2A members would go to defend their guns. “We are committed,” he said.
Read the rest and see the pics here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51483541