Va. Gov., Leery of Threats, Bans Weapons at Gun-Rights Rally

Henrietta Strickland
January 16, 2020

Gun-rights advocates, including militia groups and ultraconservative activists, are planning a "Lobby Day" rally on Monday, seeking to block gun control legislation backed by Northam, a Democrat, and the Democratic-controlled state legislature in both the General Assembly and Senate.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, VCDL, a group that describes itself as a "non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms", plans on holding a rally. "These are considered credible, serious threats by our law enforcement agencies", Northam said at a Capitol news conference. State police are already making security plans, aiming to avoid a repeat of the chaos seen in Charlottesville in 2017, when a march by white nationalists erupted in violence that led to the death of a counter-protester.

"It makes no sense to ban every other weapon but allow firearms when intelligence shows a threat of an armed militia groups storming our capital", Northam said. He said state intelligence analysts have identified threats and rhetoric online that mirrors the chatter they were picking up around that time.

"Northam and the rest of the Virginia Democrats have made their session goal crystal clear: a disarmed, vulnerable, and subservient citizenry", Wilson said in a statement.

The weapons ban, according to the written emergency declaration, applies to Richmond's Capitol Square.

AP reveals that they were alerted to the coming ban by "two state officials who were briefed on the plans".

Since the election, some officials in almost all of Virginia's 95 counties have declared they would not enforce new gun laws, calling themselves "sanctuary cities" for gun rights - adopting a term first used by localities opposed to harsh treatment of illegal immigrants. One woman was killed and several more were injured when a vehicle plowed into a group of counterprotesters.

The announcement comes days after Democratic leaders used a special rules committee to ban guns inside the Capitol and a legislative office building.

Northam's declaration will also ban items like helmets and shields, items that some white nationalists carried in Charlottesville.

Second Amendment supporters have been outraged at the legislative proposals from Democrats, including an assault weapons ban, a red flag law, universal background checks, limits on handgun purchase frequency, and limitations on indoor shooting ranges. Gun owners are descending on local government offices to demand that officials establish sanctuaries for gun rights. "Unfortunately, they have unleashed something much larger, something they may not be able to control".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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