West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said that he supports Virginia counties unsatisfied with Richmond’s Democratic government joining West Virginia.
“I think it’s something that is an attractive thing for him to do to engender political support,” said Jason MacDonald, political science professor at WVU. “He is in favor of gun rights, and the premise for this is that there are people in these counties who are opposed to the State of Virginia’s new gun laws.”
Justice said that this was not a symbolic measure.
“When West Virginia’s Constitution was drafted, the number of counties was intentionally left unlimited,” Justice said at a press conference. “If you’re not happy where you’re at, come on down. We stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere you may be.”
Resolutions have been introduced to both the West Virginia House of Delegate and Senate. For example, House Concurrent Resolution 8 cites the ideological and political differences between the tidewater areas and other parts of Virginia as the reason for the offer.
Democrats recently achieved a majority in Virginia’s House and Senate, and used the opportunity to push further gun control legislation. This was not well received in Virginia’s more conservative western regions.
“Our God-given liberties cannot be taken away by the actions of men; they can only be suppressed,” said Sen. Ben Cline, representative for Virginia’s 6th congressional district, in a press release. “When Virginians speak loudly and with one voice, the incoming General Assembly in Richmond will hear them.”