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Same resolution, different day: Wise County group presents militia resolution to Board of Supervisors

Mike Still • Jan 10, 2020 at 8:30 PM

 WISE – The Wise County Board of Supervisors kicked off 2020 with receipt of a militia rights resolution approved by Norton City Council Tuesday.

County resident Clarence Peters and Appalachia Town Councilman Travis Anderson, both wearing orange “Guns Save Lives” stickers, asked the board to consider an almost-identical version of the Norton-approved resolution.

Like the Norton version, the proposed county resolution would support creation, organization of the “unorganized militia,” subject to muster and command by local government under Title 44, sections 1 and 4 of the Code of Virginia.

Under those code sections, the unorganized militia is defined as all able-bodied persons age15-55 who are Virginia residents and U.S. citizens or having declared their intent to become citizens.

Peters said area supporters of a range of recent Second Amendment gun rights sanctuary resolutions passed by Southwest Virginia local governments will meet Friday, at the former Appalachia High School, in preparation for a bus trip later in January to lobby state legislators against gun control legislation.

After Peters gave a copy of the resolution to County Administrator Mike Hatfield, Anderson told the board that he and Peters are members of the Wise County Patriots Group along with Mark Caruso and Ralph Gilley.

Caruso, who authored the Norton resolution, was not present at Thursday’s meeting.

Anderson said the county has a responsibility under the U.S. and Virginia constitutions to maintain an unorganized militia.

“We have a right and obligation to train as part of the militia,” Anderson said. “We recommend that this board stay true to its oath.”

While Virginia Code Title 44.1 and 44.4 define the unorganized militia, other parts of Title 44 specify only that the governor has the right to muster the unorganized militia, the National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force. Other parts of the title state that the mobilized militias are subject to command by the state Adjutant General under the same rules, regulations and penalties of the National Guard.

Asked if they had read all of Title 44 before presenting the resolution, Peters and Anderson both said they had. Anderson said he was aware of the provisions regarding the governor’s and adjutant general’s control of the unorganized militia.

Board members made no comment on the resolution before conducting other business on the meeting agenda.

In an organizational meeting before the regular meeting, the supervisors unanimously selected District 3 Supervisor John Schoolcraft as board chairman to succeed part member Dana Kilgore. District 2 Supervisor Steve Bates was voted as board vice chairman to succeed District 4 Supervisor Robby Robbins. Bates and Schoolcraft will serve one-year terms in those posts.

The board also voted to retain its monthly meeting time of the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Wise County School Board meeting room on Lake Street.

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