https://www.westernjournal.com/national-guard-issues-statement-dem-rep-suggests-using-enforce-gun-control/

The Virginia National Guard is hedging on comments made by a Virginia Democrat that it could be used to enforce future gun control laws in the state.

Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin said using the Guard to enforce anti-gun laws was an option for Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, according to the Washington Examiner.

“And ultimately, I’m not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law,” he said. “That’s his call, because I don’t know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that’s obviously an option he has.”

That resulted in a Twitter statement from Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia.

“We have received multiple questions regarding proposed legislation for the 2020 General Assembly session and the authority of the Governor of Virginia to employ the Virginia National Guard in a law enforcement role. We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights,” the statement said.

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“We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard. I encourage everyone to be patient while we allow our elected officials to work through the legislative process. We have not received any requests from the Governor, or anyone on his staff, about serving in a law enforcement role related to any proposed legislation.”

The statement also warned National Guard members to exercise care in talking on this hot-button issue.

“I expect our Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force to be professional and respectful in their discussions about this subject. As private citizens, our personnel are free to express their opinions to their elected officials, but they should not engage in any political activity while in a uniformed status,” the statement said.

One commentator suggested that although in theory the Guard could be used, she doubted it would be used in this context.

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“When you look at the historical reality of when governors or presidents have mobilized the National Guard, it has been to enforce the rights of citizens when they were being infringed upon,” Amy Swearer, a legal policy analyst, told the Washington Examiner.

“But to suggest the National Guard would be brought in to otherwise peaceful jurisdictions to enforce re.strictions on constitutional rights, that would be completely unprecedented in terms of how the National Guard has been used when it’s mobilized to restore law and order.”

She also doubted National Guard members would be sent door to door.

“I don’t necessarily foresee it coming to that situation where essentially you see this political back and forth of state and local officials using their respective authority to get back at each other,” she said.

McEachin said that local jurisdictions that do not dance to the state tune could also face a cutoff in state aid.

“They certainly risk funding, because if the sheriff’s department is not going to enforce the law, they’re going to lose money. The counties’ attorneys offices are not going to have the money to prosecute because their prosecutions are going to go down,” he said.

Northam has said he is opposed to “retaliation,” but added, “If we have constitutional laws on the books and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be consequences, but I’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it,” according to WTKR.

Northam did not detail what those consequences might be.

Northam also said counties making themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries should not fool themselves that thrive actions will make a difference to the state.

“They can continue to have their meetings. They can continue to make sanctuary counties, but we’re going to do what Virginians have asked us to do,” he said.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also spoke negatively about the sanctuary resolutions.

“The resolutions that are being passed are being ginned up by the gun lobby to try to scare people. What we’re talking about here are laws that will make our communities and our streets safer. We’re talking about universal background checks, finally, maybe, Virginia will pass universal background checks to make sure that people who are dangerous, who are criminals and who aren’t permitted to buy guns, won’t be able to buy guns,” Herring said, according to WTKR. “So, when Virginia passes these gun safety laws that they will be followed, they will be enforced.”

But to date, according to the website gunrightswatch.com, more than 80 Virginia counties have approved some form of legislation to protect gun rights.

The Chesapeake City Council added itself to the list Wednesday, although it termed its resolution making it a “constitutional” city, instead of a “sanctuary” one, according to WTKR.

The action came at a meeting attended by gun rights supporters such as Kaitlynn Flint, 15.

“It’s your right to have… to protect and defend yourself, and I feel it’s very scary if somebody tries to take that away from you,” Kaitlynn said.

Gun rights advocates were passionate in their comments.

“I don’t care what color, creed, background, who you call God or who you decide to sleep with at night — gun rights are your rights, and you should have any gun you want to be able to defend yourself and it shouldn’t be limited by the government to decide,” said Brendan Mooney with the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

“We really need them to uphold the Constitution. We understand these sanctuary cities, they don’t have a lot of teeth, but it’s part of a bigger movement, and that’s really what we’re trying to get forward – is that bigger movement.”

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