Aligning with Culpeper County—which adopted a similar measure last month—the town of Culpeper has declared itself a “Constitutional Town” in response to gun control legislation being proposed by Democrats in Richmond.
As of Tuesday, 102 cities and counties across Virginia have approved some such Second Amendment measure.
Culpeper Town Council voted 6-2 to do so at its meeting Tuesday night, with Councilwomen Jamie Clancey and Meaghan Taylor voting no. Councilman Pranas Rimeikis was absent.
Of the 11 residents who addressed the council on the matter, including several from the county, nine spoke for the resolution and two against.
South East Street residents Rich and Jacki Kaiser asked council not to adopt it. Rich Kaiser admonished the council for seeking to disregard duly adopted state laws just as he follows laws adopted by the town.
“I do not declare myself a sanctuary citizen and above the law,” he said.
Kaiser said he has carried guns and fired them in self-defense at others, but that he never felt afraid or the need to carry a firearm. The only time he feels afraid, he added, is when he looks over at a fellow congregant in church or at a local government meeting to see them with a gun on their waist.
Jacki Kaiser spoke representing people who lost loved ones to gun violence in public places.
“I feel this would be a step backwards for Culpeper,” she said.
Jeff Davis of Stevensburg said there is nothing more sacred to him that his constitutional rights, including having a gun for his own defense.
“We will not be submissive as the liberal Democratic agenda would have us be,” he said.
April Quinn of Orange Road recounted a story about needing protection from an abusive spouse, slated to be released from prison this year.
“He threatened to kill me,” she said. “The only way I feel safe is by carrying and protecting myself and my daughters.”
Town resident Joe Short said he was working in Northern Virginia when he got a call from his wife that there was an armed robbery in their neighborhood along Sperryville Pike.
“She asked what she should do and I didn’t have an answer,” he said. “It led us to discover what is self-defense, and we purchased handguns.”
He encouraged the town to adopt the resolution so as to present a unified front with the county.
Town resident Dan Jenkins said he was a student at Virginia Tech when the 2007 mass shooting occurred there that left 32 dead. He spoke in support of the town resolution.
“The common thread is mental health issues,” Jenkins said, adding, “Crazy people do not enable the government to abridge our rights. We are the caretakers of those rights and we should do our best to pass them on.”
Councilwoman Taylor, in voting against the resolution, said the document should express the town’s support of upholding all constitutional rights, not just the Second Amendment.
“It’s a divided issue. We should be united in sending a message to Richmond we are against the erosion of any of any of our constitutional rights,” she said.
Councilwoman Clancey voted against the measure because she felt it would potentially hinder gun laws meant to protect domestic violence victims.
“To say we will not support any changes is concerning to me,” she said.
Councilman Keith Price, while ultimately voting for the resolution, attempted to change its language slightly so it would not be representative of all town citizens, including the many who called him asking that it not be adopted.
“There are broader views in town … and we represent them too,” he said. “Not everyone in Culpeper is one voice on this.”
Councilman Jon Russell led support for the resolution while the Virginia General Assembly is in session.
“The timeliness of this is very important,” he said.