Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. advocated for “civil disobedience” if the Democratic-controlled Commonwealth of Virginia government passes stricter gun control laws.
In an interview with conservative writer and radio host Todd Starnes earlier this month, Virginia resident Falwell said that he had “never seen the populace more energized” on any other issue than the gun control bills being considered by the state legislature.
One of them, a bill by Del. Dan Helmer seeking to ban indoor shooting ranges at office buildings, would impact the National Rifle Association, as their headquarters is in Fairfax.
“There are millions of people who work in office buildings in the Commonwealth of Virginia," argued Helmer, as reported by the Associated Press.
“It doesn't make sense for us to be establishing businesses in those buildings that have people bringing lots of firearms and ammunition.”
Falwell told Starnes that he was “pretty sure I’m going to call for civil disobedience if the Democrats go through with this.”
“And the hundred municipalities and jurisdictions who have passed resolutions to protect the Second Amendment, I think the police officers and the populace would not be opposed to just disobeying,” he continued.
“Just like sanctuary cities in liberal states refused to obey the federal law when it comes to immigration, I think it’s time for conservatives.”
Falwell referenced the Civil Rights Act, which he credited civil disobedience as a key factor in its passage, adding that “there comes a time when there’s no other choice.”
When Starnes asked Falwell what this civil disobedience would look like, the Liberty president said that he saw it as including police not enforcing state laws and the population not obeying them.
“You don’t mess with people’s guns in this part of the state,” said Falwell, who lives in a region of Virginia he labeled very conservative.
Falwell’s comments come in advance of tens of thousands of gun rights activists going to Richmond to protest against stricter firearms control.
In a large-scale demonstration widely recognized as peaceful, the activists organized Monday, which was not only Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but also a state lobby day.
Democrat Governor Ralph Northam, who had previously called a state of emergency in response to the rally, said in a statement that he was glad that the event went without serious incident.
“Thousands of people came to Richmond to make their voices heard. Today showed that when people disagree, they can do so peacefully,” stated Northam.
“The issues before us evoke strong emotions, and progress is often difficult. I will continue to listen to the voices of Virginians, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep our Commonwealth safe.”