A large gun-rights rally in Virginia’s state capital unfolded peacefully Monday despite earlier fears of the kind of violence that took place in nearby Charlottesville three years ago.
Security was tight as gun-rights advocates descended on Richmond for “Lobby Day” to oppose legislation that would restrict access to firearms in the state. The commonwealth braced for the potential of extremist and white nationalist groups to disrupt the peaceful demonstrations with violence and riots, and the state’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, declared a temporary state of emergency last week to ban open and concealed firearms and other weapons from the state capitol grounds.
The crowd, however, was peaceful, with no immediate reports of arrests or violence.
In addition to the people on the capitol grounds, there was a large group outside the fenced area, which was not under the ban on weapons and is an open carry area. They were chanting “Northam out” and outnumbered the group on the capitol grounds. There was a heavy police presence among this crowd, and law enforcement could also be seen on the rooftops, providing extra security to the area.