Armed Crowd Expected for Lovettsville Council’s Second Amendment Vote

The Lovettsville Town Council on Thursday is scheduled to vote on a proclamation in support of the Second Amendment, but not before a crowd of armed supporters fills the town office.

The proposed proclamation reads that the Town Council would support and defend the United States and Virginia constitutions through opposition to legislation that “infringes upon the right to keep and bear arms.” The council “strongly disagrees” with Gov. Ralph Northam and General Assembly members who they say threatening to withhold funds from localities that support residents’ rights to bear arms, and with any actions that would place the National Guard in opposition to law enforcement agencies and residents.

“The Town Council supports measures that would advance firearm safety without infringing upon the right to keep and bear arms,” it reads.

In recent months, nearly all 95 Virginia counties and dozens of other localities have passed similar proclamations—proclamations that have established most of those localities as Second Amendment sanctuary counties, cities and towns in light of the General Assembly deliberating and voting on bills aimed to intensify gun control measures.

In Loudoun, the Board of Supervisors Dec. 3 voted against a motion opposing legislation “unlawfully infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens” to keep and bear arms. The motion omitted language labelling Loudoun a sanctuary county.

Similarly, Mayor Nate Fontaine wrote in his weekly email newsletter on Friday that the proclamation would not—and could not—make Lovettsville a Second Amendment sanctuary town because the municipality does not have the authority to disregard county or state laws.

Thursday’s scheduled vote has drawn opposition from some residents and energized others.

On Jan. 25, Warner Workman, the owner of the Minuteman Arms gun shop in town, posted a video to his shop’s YouTube channel calling for armed residents to crowd into the town office for the vote. The small office fits less than two dozen people comfortably.

“I want to fill up the place,” Workman said in the video. “I want to have a parking lot full. … We’re going to go there and we’re going to have a great time.”

Workman said on Monday that he expects about 30 people to show up open carrying their weapons.          

In the video, he predicted the vote would come down to a tie-breaker by Fontaine, since, Workman said, the council is made up of“three uber liberals,” or “socialist people”—referencing Vice Mayor Jim McIntyre and Councilmen Mike Dunlap and Matthew Schilling—and three councilmen who are “right of center,” or “patriotic Americans”—referencing Councilmen Chris Hornbaker, Buchanan Smith and David Steadman. It was Steadman who initially proposed the council consider a vote on the proclamation at the Jan. 23 Town Council meeting.

In response to Workman’s video, some residents have said they don’t feel safe enough to attend this week’s meeting.

Planning Commissioner Kris Consaul said she was one of those residents. “We’re not going to risk it,” she said.

Kristen Swanson, who lives down the street from the town office, said she would also not be attending. Swanson said she is a gun owner and supports the Second Amendment but nevertheless sent the Town Council an email on Monday encouraging it to dismiss the proposed proclamation.

“Workman’s efforts to rally groups to attend the council meeting armed is profoundly disturbing,” she wrote. “We do not wish to be intimidated or threatened by a parking lot full of armed men.”

Workman said he was unsure why residents would feel too unsafe to attend the meeting, since the crowd of gun-carrying residents he is calling together is an expression of free speech and right to bear arms. “I don’t know why people would be uncomfortable,” he said.

Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Kraig Troxell said the agency was aware of the rally but has yet to receive any requests for additional patrols.

Swanson wrote in her email that passing the proclamation could damage the perception of “our loving and quirky town” and that visitors might not attend town events, like Oktoberfest, “knowing that our town officials have declared our town immune to and in opposition to state gun laws.”

“I am disappointed that my Lovettsville elected representatives would use their power and authority to advance a lawless and meaningless gun rights proclamation that may negatively impact our town,” she wrote, noting that this week, Feb. 1-8, is National Gun Violence Survivors Week. “Elected representatives are obligated to serve and govern for the public good.”

In his Jan. 31 newsletter, Fontaine wrote that, because the General Assembly is considering votes on additional gun control laws for Virginians, the proclamation is a local issue. He added that the Town Council often discusses and takes stances on legislation the General Assembly takes up.

“The absolute beauty of our Nation, Commonwealth and Town is the ability to have open discussions on ideas,” he wrote. “Our upcoming Town Council meeting … is another opportunity to speak on many different items.”

The vote will come as the Virginia General Assembly continues to deliberate on bills aimed to intensify gun control measures. Last week, the House of Delegates passed seven of those bills, sending them to the Senate for a vote.Those include limiting handgun purchases to once a month, implementing universal background checks on gun purchases, allowing localities to ban guns in public buildings, and the controversial Red Flag Law that would allow law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from the residents a magistrate or judge determines pose a danger to themselves or others.

The Senate equivalents of those bills have also passed and will head to the House for deliberation.

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7 thoughts on “Armed Crowd Expected for Lovettsville Council’s Second Amendment Vote

  • 2020-02-05 at 10:14 am

    Letting armed cranks like Mr. Workman dictate policy for an issue that a town council has no need to weigh in on is worse than dereliction of the duty of the part of town council members. This is disgusting and a badge of shame for our town.

  • 2020-02-05 at 8:13 pm

    This is scary since most gun toting morons have the IQ of a squirrel. Case in point that clown who owns the gun shop next to Bonnies Restaurant, he pushes his First Amendment Rights to the edge with his often misspelled rants on his signboard. It is these scary types that can go “postal” at the drop of a hat because they are so fearful of someone taking away their Second Amendment Rights. Like children…our forefathers did not create this right for AR 15 type weapons. I never met one gun rights person who had all their marbles. Look at NRA President, Wayne LaPierre, he looks like a madman.

    • 2020-02-06 at 10:20 am

      Sedonacat, that “clown who owns the gun shop” is Mr. Workman. Maybe “armed clown” is the better moniker.

    • 2020-02-07 at 10:55 am

      Sedoncat, I escaped from a socialist country. My grandfather lost his gun rights 45 years ago for the sake of “safety for the society”, then my father lost his rights to carry a pocket knife for the “safety for the society”, and finally I lost my freedom of speech for the “safety of the society”. The socialist politicians claim that speech is “dangerous” and can incite violence. Your comment shows how ignorant you are about the 2nd amendment rights. It shows that you’re more ignorant about guns, which is just a tool. Do you even know what is an AR 15? Do you know that an AR 15 is meant for hunting small game? Do you know that in many states it is illegal to hunt with an AR 15 because the round it uses is not “powerful” enough to take down a deer? The recent gun rally, which more than 22K armed citizen attended, was way more peaceful than the women’s march. It seems like you’re the one with the IQ of a squirrel for spewing out nonsense on a subject that you know absolutely nothing about.

  • 2020-02-07 at 8:25 am

    Although the bills addressed by the proclamation are related to the 2nd amendment, they also infringe on the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments of all citizens, gun owners, anti-gun activists, ALL of us. The Town Council has a need to “weigh in on” potential laws that impact our freedoms and I’m proud to be a resident of a town that does. Mr. Workman is not “dictating policy”, he is practicing his rights and attempting to educate citizens of Lovettsville. The community as a whole, thanks him for that. You should check your facts before attacking and discriminating against people on public forums and acting like a “moron with IQ of a squirrel”. Who are the real clowns?

  • 2020-02-08 at 3:57 pm

    For all the stereotyping, scurrilous insults and hackneyed generalizations I see from anti-gun proponents here one would think the average gun-owing, second amendment supporting resident of Loudoun County was some cave-dwelling troglodyte.

    As a college educated person with decades of professional experience who has lived all over the world, I suspect the “average gun owner” in Loudoun County looks a lot like me and not those here hurling baseless insults on subjects they seem to know little about.

    The town officials first and foremost have a duty to uphold the US and Virginia Constitutions. That was what so disappointed me about the reactions of Letourneau, Buffington and Meyer when they ran from this issue in the December BOS meeting. They literally ran away from an opportunity to do the right thing even when though it might have cost them nothing.

    Politicians need to remember who they represent and increasingly they couldn’t care less and act as overlords rather than representative public servants.

    Facts do still matter. Some people would be well served by seeking out facts and understanding them rather than engaging in disparaging comments.

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