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

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam addresses a commemorative meeting of the Virginia General Assembly on the 400th anniversary of the first House of Burgess meeting at a church in Historic Jamestown Va. on the site where the meeting took place Tuesday July 3

He said the order was necessary to protect public safety because of potential violence from out-of-state groups at a gun-rights rally scheduled for Monday.

Earlier this month, Northam signed legislation to prohibit firearms inside of the Capitol building and adjacent legislative office building.

Northam said law enforcement intelligence analysts identified credible threats of violence, as well as white nationalist rhetoric and out-of-state militia plans that appeared similar to plans that led up to the deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in 2017. "We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here". Day and is known as "Lobby day" in Virginia politics as advocates for a number of causes use the holiday to try and buttonhole lawmakers.

A huge crowd of both pro-gun and gun-control advocates are expected to rally at the Capitol on January 20.

On a Facebook page organizing the gun rights demonstration hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, several commenters expressed frustration at Northam's move to restrict guns from the capitol grounds.

The group said its lawyers are reviewing the governor's emergency declaration but did not have immediate additional comment.

Northam, a Democrat elected in 2018, now enjoys partisan support from the Virginia House and Senate.


The governor declined to give exact details about the threats and the persons making them, but said that these groups, who were coming from outside of the state, talked about storming the Virginia Capitol.

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. One woman was killed and several more were injured when a vehicle plowed into a group of counterprotesters.

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

The AP reports that "Democrat leaders ..." But they did not extend the ban to Capitol Square, the public space outside that includes monuments to prominent Virginians and the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial.

The change in legislative control has made Virginia a key target for people on both sides of the gun-rights debate, one of America's most polarizing issues.

He called on the VCDL and other gun rights groups to stick to peaceful protests. "The governor and leadership in the Democratic Party have declared war on law-abiding gun owners, and they're exhausted of it", Van Cleave said. More than 100 counties, cities and towns have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries and vowed to oppose any new "unconstitutional restrictions" on guns.

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