Virginia governor bans guns from state capitol ahead of pro-gun rally

Henrietta Brewer
January 16, 2020

Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency and is banning firearms and other weapons on the state capitol grounds ahead of a gun-rights demonstration next week.

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.

The lobby day is expected to attract thousands of people to the state capital, including members of anti-government groups from other states.

After the emergency expires, most firearms will be allowed on the capitol grounds as Virginia is an open-carry state-unless another emergency declaration is made.

A massive rally has been planned for weeks in Richmond on January 20 to protest a series of proposed gun bills that are being considered in the General Assembly, including bans on "assault weapons" (one of which was already pulled by its sponsor), red flag laws, and universal background checks.

Joe Macenka, a spokesman for the Virginia Capitol police, said the force has had several meetings with rally organizers.

The governor saw credible threats of potential violence after a series of provocative online postings from out-of-state pro-gun and militia groups that plan to attend, one official told The Associated Press news agency.

Although there are clearly many opponents to the proposed legislation among Virginia residents, Democrats control the entire legislature, leaving little for gun rights advocates to do except mobilize and protest.

Newly empowered Democrats in the General Assembly voted Friday to ban guns at the Capitol and a legislative office building, saying the move was needed to protect public safety. One woman was killed and several more were injured when a auto plowed into a group of counterprotesters.

The ban will include helmets and shields.

Democrats have full control of the Virginia statehouse for the first time in a generation, and are set to pass a number of gun-control restrictions, including limiting handgun purchases to once a month and universal background checks on gun purchases.

Since the election, some officials in almost all of Virginia's counties have said they will not enforce new gun laws, calling themselves "holy cities" for gun rights - adopting a term used once. seen by localities opposing the harsh treatment of illegal immigrants.

Other reports by iNewsToday