WINCHESTER — A petition urging the Frederick County Board of Supervisors to make the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” had more than 3,500 signatures as of Monday evening.

Those familiar with the online petition say more than 100 people plan to attend the board’s Dec. 11 meeting to present the petition and implore county officials to protect the rights of gun owners.

Since the Nov. 5 election that put Democrats in control of the state legislature, approximately 22 of Virginia’s 95 counties have adopted Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions in response to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam saying his party’s leaders will push for gun control measures. The resolutions are not legally binding, according to The Associated Press.

The Frederick County petition, created by county resident Corey O’Donnell, urges the board to issue a public statement supporting the U.S. Constitution. It also asks the board not to endorse any expenditures or actions that would infringe on the Constitution’s Second Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms.

“It will send a message to the governor that we are not happy,” said Middletown Firearms owner Travis Dodson, who supports the petition.

Similar measures have been approved in Appomattox, Campbell, Charlotte, Carroll and Pittsylvania counties, among others.

In addition to the online petition, physical petitions are currently circulating at 21 local businesses, such as Middletown Firearms and Stonewall Arms. They have about 500 signatures, according to O’Donnell.

Efforts to increase gun control have amplified in the wake of multiple mass shootings around the country, including a May 31 shooting at the Virginia Beach municipal building that killed 13 people and injured four others.

Many gun owners believe increased regulations will infringe on their Second Amendment rights, and they are urging their localities to take a stand against additional gun control measures.

Northam’s legislative agenda, announced in July, includes:

Requiring background checks on all firearms sales and transactions. The bill mandates that any person selling, renting, trading, or transferring a firearm must first obtain the results of a background check before completing the transaction.

Banning dangerous weapons. This would include bans on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers.

Reinstating Virginia’s law allowing one handgun purchase within a 30-day period.

Requiring that lost and stolen firearms be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours.

Creating an Extreme Risk Protective Order, allowing law enforcement and the courts to temporarily separate a person from firearms if the person exhibits dangerous behavior that presents an immediate threat to self or others.

Prohibiting all individuals subject to final protective orders from possessing firearms. The bill expands Virginia law, which now prohibits individuals subject to final protective orders of family abuse from possessing firearms.

Enhancing the punishment for allowing access to a loaded, unsecured firearm by a child from a Class 3 Misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony. The bill also raises the age of the child from 14 to 18.

Enabling localities to enact any firearms ordinances that are stricter than state law. This includes regulating firearms in municipal buildings, libraries and at permitted events.

“We are big supporters [of making Frederick County a Second Amendment Sanctuary] because this is going to affect our business and how we’ve been doing things for a long time,” Dodson said. “I obviously own a lot of theses guns, and they are going to make me a felon because of it. And it’s going to hurt my business. It’s also going to hurt other businesses that are in the area.”

Dodson is not in favor of universal background checks or any new gun restrictions. He maintains the government already has too much overreach.

“They’ve overreached enough already,” Dodson said. “You give them a little, they’ll take it all.”

Frederick County Board of Supervisors Chairman Charles DeHaven Jr. said the board has received a request from Gainesboro resident and Planning Commission member Alan Morrison to adopt a resolution defending Second Amendment rights.

“It has not been discussed by the board in any way, shape or form yet,” DeHaven said. “I’m sure it will be.”

DeHaven said the board will listen to residents at the Dec. 11 meeting, but if any action is taken on the submitted resolution, it would likely occur at a later meeting.

He added that he doesn’t think Morrison’s resolution, in its current draft, is in compliance with state law, as it seems to ask supervisors to defy state law if additional gun regulations are enacted. He declined to provide The Star a copy of the resolution, believing it would be premature to do so.

“We all swear to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” DeHaven said. “The law is the law. It is my personal opinion that there is no way in the world [the proposed resolution] could ever stand up to a challenge, even if it were enacted. And I just think it’s a feel-good, knee-jerk reaction.”

However, DeHaven does believe the proposed resolution reflects the sentiments of most county residents. The county has more than 86,000 residents.

Last week, three people encouraged Winchester City Council to protect gun ownership rights, and about 1,000 people showed up to a Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors meeting in support of similar measures. Dodson said he hopes as many or more people attend the Dec. 11 Frederick County Board of Supervisors meeting.

— Contact Josh Janney at

(9) comments


It bothers me our Governor and the newly elected legislature are pursuing gun control with a vengeance. The Democrats have taken the statehouse, they’ve won, it’s now time to take a step back, and sort rhetoric from reality. Unlike our neighbor to the North Maryland, a significant portion of the Commonwealth doesn’t agree with the Governor’s brand of Gun Control. We have a significant population in rural areas that regard this as anathema. Before moving to Virginia I was resident of Baltimore City Maryland. Maryland has had most of the gun control our governor wants, in place for 20 years. Yet Virginia, not Maryland, has a lower rate of gun violence. The Democratic Party of Virginia bound itself to Gun Control as a way to beat the Republicans within our high density and high transiency areas. It’s a shame we’re going to lose our rights due to political expediency and a well-funded campaign by an out of state billionaire.

FrankJr I am very proud of Va Delegate Nick Frietas and his comments about the proposed gun infringements the Democrats are trying to push through.


I am respectfully asking our newly re-elected Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland honor his recent statements and openly stand up for the 2nd Amendment by following in the footsteps of Page County Sheriff Cubbage. Sheriff Cubbage just made a Proclamation as the Page County Sheriff Declaring Page County as a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County. See Page County Sheriff’s Office facebook page to review this outstanding Sheriff’s stance on the 2nd Amendment.


It's frustratingly amazing to see the ways that anti-gun people come up with supposedly common-sense gun laws that put additional burden on law-abiding citizens, yet don't seem to be able to put their misguided brain power to work in finding ways to burden the criminals, psychos, miscreants, etc. who are actually committing acts of violence. Common sense should dictate that the people causing the problems should be the ones who are burdened. Maybe that is why we see such failures of laws that target the wrong segment of the population.


The question is what does one do when the Federal Constitution and the State Laws conflict? It takes years to get a decision out of the Supreme court and during that time, your guns are subject to destruction. The term "infringed" has a rather clear meaning. The word fringe denotes the edge of a thing. To infringe means to reduce from the edge. The proposed laws do just that - they pick around the edges. Who are the "People"? The Bill of rights speaks of the rights of "the People" to assemble, to worship and to bear arms. Thus "the people" are not a special group. They are all the citizens of the country. If we could reduce "gun violence" by removing all guns, there would then be other forms of violence, Guns make the 86 year old woman equal to the three thugs breaking into her home, and we all believe in equality don't we? NO picking around the fringes! It is the law of the Land.


You think the law is going to stop people who arent supposed tp have them??. NOT... if the "slap" felons or any illegal ownership of a firearm on the wrist so to speak like they do child molesters why bother. I know spock I didn't put commas etc in.


I don't see where anything on the list would hurt a law abiding gun owner. All the proposals on the list though would help protect us from people who should not have them.

A gun owner should understand why we need these.


"Common sense" gun control isn't always constitutional. It needs to be so.

Joshua J

Everything on this list would impact law abiding gun owners. The definitions and bans are so broad that %80 of all rifles and roughly %15 of all handguns would become felonies to own. These are firearms that millions of Virginians ALREADY own. We are talking about making MILLIONS of Virginians felons. These are not cheap items. A law abiding gun owner is expected to destroy thousands of dollars of his own property at the behest of hysterical lawmakers. The rules are completely nonsensical and arbitrary, they are twice as stringent as the Clinton era ban that was resoundingly proven to not effect gun crime one bit. Making people helpless does not make them safe. Putting law abiding citizens in prison does not make you safe. The world is never going to be "safe".

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