In Virginia, and elsewhere, gun supporters prepare to defy new laws

A resistance movement is boiling up in Virginia, where Democrats rode a platform on gun control to historic victories in state elections earlier this month. The uprising is fueled by a deep cultural gulf between rural red areas that had long wielded power in Virginia and the urban and suburban communities that now dominate. Guns are the focus. Behind that, there is a sense that a way of life is being cast aside.

In the past two weeks, county governments from the central Piedmont to the Appalachian Southwest — Charlotte, Campbell, Carroll, Appomattox, Patrick, Dinwiddie, Pittsylvania, Lee and Giles — have approved resolutions that defy Richmond to come take their guns.

It mirrors a trend that began last year in western parts of the United States, where some law enforcement officials vowed to go to jail rather than enforce firearm restrictions, and has spread eastward. In New Mexico, 25 of 33 counties declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries after the state expanded background checks. In Illinois, nearly two-thirds of its counties have done the same.

“My oath of office is to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” Amelia Sheriff Ricky L. Walker said Wednesday night as he waited for the supervisors to meet in this rural county west of Richmond.