Va. sheriff will deputize residents if gun control laws pass
Sheriff Scott Jenkins said he would swear in 'thousands' of auxiliary deputies as a measure of community protection
Allison Brophy Champion
CULPEPER, Va. — Citizens packed the Culpeper Board of Supervisors morning meeting for a hot topic discussion on an adopted resolution declaring the locality a Second Amendment Constitutional County.
Many donned bright orange stickers reading, “Guns save lives,” and the local sheriff vowed to deputize scores of residents, if necessary, to push back on potential state-imposed gun restrictions.
The seven-member elected Culpeper County Board unanimously passed the resolution, joining a growing number of localities doing so in reaction to expected gun control legislation in the now Democratic-controlled Virginia General Assembly.
“All my adult life, in the military and in local government, I’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution and I’ll be damned if any politician down in Richmond or anywhere else is going to get me to change my mind,” said Supervisor Bill Chase, a Vietnam veteran.
The overflow audience in attendance erupted in applause at this statement as Chase invited Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins to the podium to share his thoughts on the Second Amendment.
“The right to bear arms—some believe that the Second Amendment gives us that right, when in fact it’s a God-given right. If you don’t believe in God, it’s a law of nature that every creature can defend their lives from threats,” Jenkins said.
The sheriff, elected in November to a third term in office, said he would not violate his oath of office by declining to enforce new gun laws, but asserted he was prepared to act otherwise.
“If the legislature decides to restrict certain weapons I feel harms our community, I will swear in thousands of auxiliary deputies in Culpeper,” Jenkins said. “There’s no limit to the number of people I can swear in.” The sheriff added, “Personally, I don’t think some of the bills that are proposed will pass, I don’t think we’re that far left in Virginia.”
Jenkins said thousands of Culpeper citizens hold concealed carry permits, including for guns with large capacity ammunition magazines, an issue that could see attempts at legislative restriction next year. He quoted Founding Father Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, in further emphasizing his point: “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms.”
Jenkins said it was “ridiculous” and “insane” to restrict magazine capacity, and so are attempts to punish the majority for the evil deeds of a few.
“You can create just as much harm and death in a school with an environment of an active shooter with a shot gun in five or 10 minutes as you could with most other weapons,” he said.
Culpeper County Supervisor Sue Hansohn, in supporting the resolution, said she wished the General Assembly would focus on mental health, “the deeper problems,” behind societal gun violence, she said.
“The state closed its institutions, sent them all back to the community. There are no treatment centers here. So I’m asking that the General Assembly stop this crap they are doing and look at the underlying issue which is mental health,” Hansohn said, receiving applause.
Supervisor Jack Frazier added his strong support for the resolution “as a first step in protecting our constitutional rights.”
“I am hoping that by standing by our neighboring counties that this will send a message to our governor, legislators and the folks in Richmond that the people of Culpeper County know best as to how we can protect ourselves and our families,” he said.