Sanctuary Issue In Lexington Brings Few Speakers

Council Doesn’t Add 2A Topic To Agenda

Second Amendment sanctuary supporters came to Lexington City Council last week, and, according to one of the speakers, the atmosphere was decidedly less tense than at other local government meetings when the issue was discussed.

“It’s amazing going through all these meetings over the past months, the tension that’s usually in the air of the room,” Scott Guise began. “It’s a relief tonight.”

There were under 10 residents slated to speak, and only about a dozen people in attendance at the meeting.

One of those speakers, Lexington resident Collette Barry-Rec, told the story of an illegal immigrant who had allegedly raped a dog named Estrella “so bad it had to be put down,” and insisted that many of us in the United States take our firearms and our safety for granted. She had told the same story at a Buena Vista City Council meeting.

“I do not mean to blame it all on illegal People,” she added. “There are legal people here that are doing bad things.”

She also said that she has lately been envisioning the state as a house with multiple doors, doors that represent the various localities. Localities that had passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions had a sign on the door that said, “We are trained to protect our children and we will.” Localities that had not passed any such resolutions had signs that said, “We’re a little squishy on this,” Barry- Rec’s said, finishing off her metaphor.

At the end of her comment, Barry-Rec asked if Mayor Frank Friedman would like to borrow her laminated copies of illegal immigrant faces, obtained from the Epoch Times. Friedman respectfully declined.

“All anyone is asking you to do is send a message to Richmond to uphold the constitution and declare your support for your citizens,” Guise had said earlier, as the first public speaker. “Not one legislator on Governor Northam’s committee last year was able to come up with even one recommendation to solve any gun violence in the state … [and] not one gun law that exists has a criminal ever heeded,” he added.

Becky Goodbar, who lives in Rockbridge but works in Lexington, said that she often fears for her safety when exiting her workplace at night.

“I like knowing I have a way to protect myself,” she said. “Mostly all women work up there, and there have been some really shady people that love to come up there and park, because it’s very secluded. I like knowing that I have my safety under control and that I can protect myself and my co-workers if I need to.”

Mark Reed, who stressed that he, unlike some others at the podium, is a resident of the city, declared that having a “sanctuary” from the law was an oxymoron.

Patrick Bradley, a teacher at Rockbridge County High School, insisted that any discussion about gun laws take the safety of children into account.

“We should first be thinking about the safety of the students, and looking at fact and evidence-based research to see what kind of gun regulations or gun laws would do the best job protecting [them].”

Bradley felt that local politicians should be advocating for “common sense” gun laws in Richmond.

Robin LeBlanc, who spoke to Council earlier as the chair of the Architectural Review Board, came back to the podium in a different aspect.

“I changed my outfit,” she announced, now wearing the official T-shirt of CARE Rockbridge’s MLK Day parade. She promoted the event.

“I just want to encourage all of you and all of our community members in Rockbridge and Lexington to show up, and fill the streets for this incredible, welcoming, positive, nonpartisan event, to cross barriers and just raise joy in celebration of an inclusive, peaceful nonviolent community,” LeBlanc said.

Ted Chalgren was the last to speak on the issue of 2A sanctuary cities, and he began by professing that he was a newcomer to Virginia and Lexington.

“I love to wake up here every morning, and to look out of the windows of our little log cabin, at the beauty of Rockbridge County,” Chalgren said. “One of my concerns, though, is that we do live in the country … We are isolated.”

He also said that, though he is not a part of the “gun culture,” he does support the constitution, which has “stood the test of time.”

Afterwards, the mayor thanked everyone for their comments, and read a quote by John Stuart Mill, which he found from “Thought of the Day.”

“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind,” Friedman read.

Before moving on with the Council meeting, Council member Leslie Straughan requested that the option to become a 2A sanctuary city not be added to the Council’s next agenda.

“I am a registered handgun owner, I understand your right to protect yourself and I respect that right,” Straughan added, addressing the 2A sanctuary supporters in the room. “However, a decision on whether legislation or a law that is passed is constitutional or not will not be decided by Lexington ... It will be decided in the courts. So I see no reason for us to take up this issue at the next meeting.”

Friedman pointed out that the same conclusion had been reached earlier, when Council was deciding whether or not to become a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.

“It’s our common practice,” he said.

Although there was no official vote to keep the item off the agenda, Friedman told The News-Gazette that he does not expect it to appear there in the future, though citizen comments and remarks are always welcome.

The News-Gazette

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