Like most state and county public offices in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the board meeting room at the Floyd County Administration Building on Oxford Street does not bar the possession of guns on the premises. Those who possess a concealed carry permit can, and sometimes do, come to meetings armed.
So does at least one supervisor, not counting the deputy sheriff who sits on the board.
Public schools, however, are gun-free zones, so a public hearing scheduled in the high school auditorium Tuesday evening for discussion ion potential passage of a resolution declaring Floyd County at “Second Amendment Sanctuary” will not allow carrying firearms — open or concealed Virginia’s gun laws prohibit carrying a firearm on school property. Anyone caught doing so faces arrest and a conviction will bar them from even owning a gun or ammunition in the future.
We bring this up because a Facebook post over the weekend in one of the Floyd “groups” claimed carrying a concealed weapon will be legal at the hearing Tuesday “because carrying a firearm is legal at Supervisor meetings.” The post quickly disappeared but not before a couple of our more “in your face” gun owners said they might carry concealed weapons “to prove the law is wrong.”
Let’s hope no one tries such a foolish stunt. The law is clear. No weapons on school property, except for law enforcement officers. If you leave your weapons in your car while parked on school property, you will also be breaking the law. Leave your weapons at home.
The Second Amendment Sanctuary is already a hot emotional issue throughout Virginia and some other states. To those who know a thing or two about law and the constitutions of both Virginia and the nation, the resolutions to turn any locale into such a sanctuary is a waste of time. Virginia does not grant local governments the authority to regulate the ownership or use of weapons.
Virginia law sets the rules for what weapons can be used, for example, when hunting. The Commonwealth controls the concealed and open carry laws, not the localities.
Supervisor chairman Lauren Yoder says he hopes the public meeting Tuesday night helps clear up some of the misinformation that is occupying the rants and ravings on social media and in other counties that have had meetings on the issue. If the county adopts a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution, it will be just that — a resolution with that does not provide any legal authority for anything.
Floyd County’s top law enforcement officials — Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom and Sheriff Brian Craig — say they will “enforce the laws of the Commonwealth.”
A Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution will not give any county resident to carry a concealed weapon unless they have a valid state permit to do so. If any new gun laws pass the General Assembly next year violate either Virginia or U.S. constitutions, it will be up to the courts to rule on whether or not they are legal.
That’s the law and, the last time we checked, this is still a nation of laws.