The Virginia National Guard on Friday responded to a Democratic lawmaker after he suggested that it may be needed to enforce new gun legislation.
The remarks from Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) suggesting that Gov. Ralph Northam (D) “may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law” comes as dozens of counties across Virginia have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” after Democrats took over the state legislature last election.
“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,” the Virginia National Guard wrote in a statement posted on Twitter Friday.
“We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights. We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard,” it added.
Northam had previously hinted that should the Democratic-controlled state legislature pass stricter gun legislation and law enforcement not follow it, there would be consequences.
“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 some consequences,” Northam said Thursday, according to WSET.
“But I’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it,” he added.
McEachin took it a step further when discussing the rise of such counties in Virginia and Democrats’ push to pass gun legislation — primarily universal background checks — when the legislative session begins next year.
“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.”
The resolutions passed by more than 50 counties in Virginia are not legally binding and instead serve as declarations of support for citizens to exercise the right to carry weapons.
Northam added that there will be no retaliation for the counties that pass such resolutions, noting that none of his proposed gun measures include taking away people’s guns, according to the news outlet.