I’m not sure if this is more hilarious or serious. Probably both. But with all the news coming out of Virginia these days regarding pushback against new gun control laws, their neighbors in West Virginia have put forth an offer. Tired of the government in Richmond taxing the heck out of you and trying to infringe upon your Second Amendment rights? Perhaps you should consider switching over and becoming part of our state. Come on in… the water’s fine!
And it’s more than just a casual discussion. The state government in Charleston has already drawn up a bill preparing to accept the new territories if anyone wants to join. (Redstate)
Whereas, Article VI, Section 11 of The Constitution of the State of West Virginia explicitly permits additional territory to be admitted into, and become part of this state, with the consent of the Legislature and of a majority of the qualified voters of the state; and
Whereas, In a spirit of conciliation, the Legislature of West Virginia hereby extends an invitation to our fellow Virginians who wish to do so, to join us in our noble experiment of 156 years of separation from the government at Richmond; and, we extend an invitation to any constituent county or city of the Commonwealth of Virginia to be admitted to the body politic of the State of West Virginia, under the conditions set forth in our state Constitution, specifically, with the consent of a majority of the voters of such county or city voting upon such proposition; and we hereby covenant that their many grievances shall be addressed, and, we further covenant with them that their firearms rights shall be protected to the fullest extent possible under our Federal and State Constitution.
As Breitbart points out, this process would have to take place in a number of steps. First, the West Virginia legislature would need to approve the offer. Then, any of the Second Amendment sanctuary counties and cities that are interested would have to call special elections and have a majority of their voters indicate a willingness to change states.
After such special elections were held, the petition(s) would shift back to West Virginia, where a majority of voters would have to approve the application. After that, the shift would become official at some point and we’d have to go back and redraw all the maps.
So is this legal? According to Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution of West Virginia it is. But I immediately began to wonder what would happen if a city in Virginia voted to join West Virginia but the surrounding county did not. Or what if one of the border counties didn’t join, but the next county to the east wanted to? Can we have non-contiguous counties as part of a state? I’m not sure what the precedent for that would be, but both Minnesota and Washington state do have sections that are not accessible by land without going through a chunk of Canada. It would be an interesting debate to be sure.
More to the point, the political ramifications would be rather intense. Virginia would immediately turn blue, but they’d lose some congressional seats while West Virginia would become an even darker shade of red and gain some seats.
All of this may have Governor Northam in even more of a panic than he is already. He’s just announced a “state of emergency” in Virginia and plans to issue an order forbidding the carrying of any firearms in Capitol Square during the upcoming Second Amendment rights rally. The city will essentially be on lockdown, with everyone attending the rally needing to go through metal detectors.
Virginia is pretty much in the midst of their own civil war at this point, hopefully without any of the attendant shooting. Who knows? Perhaps it would be for the best if they just let some of the southern counties split off and join West Virginia. They did it back in the 1800s and it’s seemed to work out okay.