Gun rights activists have taken to the grounds of the state Capitol in Richmond, Virginia Monday as the state legislature moves forward measures threatening their second amendment rights. Federal law enforcement had issued warnings to some federal employees that the militant group Antifa was expected to attend the rally but thus far, there have been no incidents or escalations in violence.
Sources on the ground described the protest to SaraACarter.com as peaceful with attendance in the thousands. One told this news site that there’s “a lot of chanting USA.”
Government and law enforcement officials told this news site that they were warned not to attend the rally stating that Antifa would seek to blend into the crowds of gun rights protestors by wearing conservative and pro-gun clothing. Gun owners were also told to be aware of thieves trying to steal guns from their vehicles, according to the warning issued by government officials.
Several reports indicate, however, that Antifa won’t be present for fear of retaliation. Antifa Seven Hills, which is based in Richmond, wrote in a statement that the group “never indicated we were attending as a group, nor did we make any call to action for folks to engage in the way that is being purported.”
The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2020
President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday to show solidarity with the protestors. “The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!” he wrote.
In anticipation of the event, Gov. Northam declared a state of emergency last week warning citizens of ‘credible threats of violence surrounding the event, along with white nationalist rhetoric, and plans by out-of-state militia groups to attend.’
“The Governor’s declaration prohibits all weapons, including firearms, from Capitol grounds, and will provide joint law enforcement and public safety agencies the resources they need to keep demonstrators, policymakers, and all Virginians safe,” the Governor’s office wrote in a statement.
I am grateful that this Executive Order stands, and that it will help ensure the safety of all Virginians on Monday.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 18, 2020
A petition to appeal the Executive Order was struck down last week by the VA Supreme Court in support of Democrat Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order.
The new gun control bills are moving quickly through the state legislature. Last week, three bills to limit citizen’s access to guns and even seize guns from existing gun owners moved through the Senate Judiciary Committee.