The Chesapeake City Council voted 6-1 with one “present” vote to approve a Second Amendment sanctuary city resolution on Tuesday evening. The council also voted to add a clause to the resolution asking “the Governor of Virginia and the General Assembly to preserve the authority of local governing bodies to make legislative decisions to the best interest of the citizens.”
There was robust public discussion both supporting and opposing the resolution, including by Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) President Phillip Van Cleave. The VCDL drafted sample non-binding resolutions similar to the one passed by Chesapeake, and Van Cleave has been lobbying grassroots gun rights owners across the state to support the Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution in their own areas. Van Cleave said protecting the right to bear arms is the key to protecting other rights. “We’re looking for some sanity in our government instead of the insanity we’ve been seeing in parts of Virginia and other parts of the country,” Van Cleave told the council.
Councilmember Robert Ike introduced the resolution. Before the meeting, Ike told The Virginia Star he was motivated by “just the thought of a citizen in the Commonwealth of Virginia who is authorized to carry a concealed weapon, or even if they are authorized to just simply open carry, having to be concerned with crossing a geographic boundary on a map.”
Ike said Virginia used to have state-level laws preempting local firearms laws. However, in 2020 the General Assembly authorized local jurisdictions to pass their own gun regulations. “They want this mishmash of laws across the Commonwealth,” Ike said. “I’m not sure why [the General Assembly] did it other than to harass law-abiding gun owners. Nothing else makes sense. That’s why I brought this forward, to tell the citizens of the Commonwealth and of Chesapeake especially that our council will not subject them to that harassment.”
“I’m of the personal belief that the right to life means very little without the right to defend your life,” Councilmember Don Carey said during the meeting. However, Carey said that the council had already taken oaths to uphold the constitutions of Virginia and the United States. “I don’t see how this resolution does anything different than what we’ve already said we’re going to do.”
Carey continued, “I’m not a fan of passing resolutions just for the sake of passing resolutions. Laws are meant to govern the unrighteous, not the righteous. What unrighteous thing does this fix in Chesapeake? Nothing, because we’ve already said what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do.”
“So for that reason and for that very reason alone, I do not see a need to pass something like this,” Carey said. “But that does not mean that I am trying to come after anybody’s rights to bear arms. I am saying that we have already resolved that we’re going to do a thing, now hold us accountable to that thing.”
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