Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said Wednesday in a radio interview that civil disobedience may be in order if Virginia’s Democrat-controlled legislature passes a series of gun-restricting measures.
“I’m pretty sure I’m going to call for civil disobedience if the Democrats go through with this,” Falwell told the host on the Todd Starnes Radio Show.
A showdown over gun rights has been brewing since Democrats took control of the General Assembly in November for the first time in two decades. Gov. Ralph Northam—a Democrat who made headlines last year for saying he supported no restrictions on abortion—is reintroducing eight separate bills to restrict gun rights. Since Republicans have no way to stop the measures from passing out of the statehouse, gun rights advocates are urging citizens to exert pressure on Democrats. The NRA, for instance, has held numerous town hall meetings and thousands of people are expected to rally at the statehouse in Richmond.
The package of proposals include banning semi-automatic rifles or pistols with 10-plus magazine rounds, mandatory background checks on all firearms, reinstating a one-handgun-a-month law, implementing “red flag” rules that would temporarily remove weapons from those deemed a potential risk, and increasing penalties for loaded guns that are accessible to children. One of proposals expands local control by allowing jurisdictions to enforce ordinances that may be even stricter than those enacted by the commonwealth.
Since November, at least 100 local municipalities have responded to pressure by residents calling for their communities to become Second Amendment Sanctuary cities. Falwell said residents are “up in arms.”
“You don’t mess with people’s guns in this part of the state,” he told the conservative commentator. “They (Democrats) don’t know what they’ve gotten into and they’re going to find out the hard way, I’m afraid.”
As a result, Falwell said he foresees citizens and law enforcement officers simply choosing not to enforce whatever gun legislation Northam signs. According to Faithwire, some sheriffs have already vowed to begin deputizing county residents in order to protect their rights to own weapons.
“That’s why I haven’t recommended civil disobedience yet, because I don’t know what the exact legislation is going to be,” Falwell said. “If it’s really bad, I could see supporting something like that. But I think the people are going to decide that on their own.”
One lawmaker, Rep. A. Donald McEachin said in December Virginia “may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law” in light of the Sanctuary movement.
Gov. Northam discussed the issue Wednesday during his State of the Commonwealth address.
“No one is calling out the National Guard,” the governor said. “No one is cutting off your electricity, or turning off the Internet. No one is going door-to-door to confiscate guns. These laws are intended to keep Virginians safe.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff
Lori Arnold is a national award-winning journalist whose experience includes 16 years at a daily community newspaper in San Diego and 16 years as writer-editor for the Christian Examiner. She owns StoryLori Media and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association.