SUFFOLK, Va. — Nearly 600 people packed Suffolk City Hall, with many attendees asking for City Council to take up a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution.
“The resolution we’re asking to have passed isn’t to defy the state law,” said attendee Matthew Adams. “It’s merely to send a message, a loud and clear message to Richmond that the citizens in Virginia are not happy with the Senate bill, we’re not happy with the attempts they’re making on infringing on our rights to keep and bear arms.”
Most attendees proudly wore “Guns Save Lives” stickers and said they are in support of protecting their constitutional right to defend themselves.
“If we can get in there and say we’re not okay with this now, it’s going to make a difference for the future and future generations to come,” said attendee Brianne Ihlenburg.
However, with no resolution on the City Council Agenda, City Council did not vote.
City Spokesperson Diana Klink said there were extra police officers in attendance to handle the crowds.
Forty minutes before the 7 p.m. meeting, the City Hall Chamber reached full capacity at 150 people. At the start of the 7 p.m. meeting, there were about 550 people in the hallway outside of the chamber, nearly reaching the 600 person maximum capacity.
On Tuesday, hundreds of people attended the Virginia Beach City Council meeting to show their support for the city becoming a Second Amendment Sanctuary even though there wasn't an official resolution the agenda.
The Gloucester County Board of Supervisors did approve a resolution to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary Tuesday night, but representative Chris Hutson acknowledged it lacks significance.
"What we're looking at passing tonight is more figurative than anything," Hutson said. "It doesn't have a lot of guts to it."
The push for Second Amendment sanctuaries comes on the heels of Democrats winning control of the Virginia General Assembly in the November election.
Lawmakers have said their legislative priority is to pass what they call "commonsense" gun safety legislation.
“And [voters] want us to finally pass commonsense gun safety legislation, so no one has to fear being hurt or killed while at school, at work, or at their place of worship,” said Governor Ralph Northam, in a statement after sweeping Democratic victory in the Commonwealth.
Ahead of the 2020 legislative session, Delegate Jay Jones for Virginia's 89th House District asked Attorney General Mark Herring for an opinion about Second Amendment Sanctuaries to give legislators and constituents more clarity.