ABC reports fearing a repeat of the deadly violence that engulfed Charlottesville more than two years ago, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam plans to declare a temporary emergency Wednesday banning all weapons, including guns, from Capitol Square ahead of a massive rally planned next week over gun rights.
That’s according to two state officials who were briefed on the plans but not authorized to speak publicly about them. The governor, a Democrat, plans to announce the plans at a news conference Wednesday afternoon because of credible threats of potential violence and extremism, one official said.
Northam’s planned announcement comes days after Democratic leaders used a special rules committee to ban guns inside the Capitol and a legislative office building. That ban did not include Capitol grounds, which are under the governor’s control and are where a huge number of gun-rights advocates are expected to rally Monday.
One official said Northam decided to ban all guns from the grounds of Capitol Square after receiving reports for weeks about inflammatory online postings by out-of-state pro-gun and militia groups who are promising to attend Monday’s rally.
The official said the state does not have intelligence that the groups are planning a specific act of violence, but said Northam has grown increasingly concerned about numerous ominous-sounding postings on social media from forces outside Virginia. The official cited one posting that included a photo of an AR-15 and said there are “great sight angles from certain buildings” near Capitol Square.
Per TCO, Thousands of NRA members showed up at the Virginia Capitol building Monday to show opposition to Democrat led legislation pushing gun control.
Per FreeBeacon, the presence of gun-rights supporters at the state Senate judiciary committee hearing appeared to have an impact, as Democrats formally withdrew S.B. 16—a hotly-contested bill that would have effectively confiscated AR-15s and similar firearms—and moderated several other proposals. The NRA, however, said the changes were not enough and promised to continue to oppose the bills as they continue to move forward in the coming weeks.
One YouTube user on site shared a video and wrote:
I am standing now inside the VA Senate Finance Committee hearing room, taking first action with the proposed anti-Gun bills.
There are thousands of NRA & VCDL members here, but they are now only allowing the few Moms Demand Action members here to preferentially enter the hearing room because “they want to balance the viewpoint of their audience.” Only 267 people are permitted in the hearing room.
There are thousands of NRA & VCDL members waiting in line outside the hearing room, while few Mom Demand Action members are being walked in. Some NRA / VCDL members are being asked to give up their seats for anti-Gun advocates. The Democratic Majority of the Committee made the rule.
FreeBeacon reports thousands of NRA supporters turned out at Virginia’s capitol building on Monday in a show of opposition that pushed Democrats in the state legislature to moderate or abandon some of their strictest gun-control proposals.
“We are beyond impressed by today’s turnout,” Daniel Spiker, Virginia state director for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon. “You can see the passion and enthusiasm that the citizens of Virginia have in joining us in this fight.”
The presence of gun-rights supporters at the state Senate judiciary committee hearing appeared to have an impact, as Democrats formally withdrew S.B. 16—a hotly-contested bill that would have effectively confiscated AR-15s and similar firearms—and moderated several other proposals. The NRA, however, said the changes were not enough and promised to continue to oppose the bills as they continue to move forward in the coming weeks.
“While there were some improvements to some of these bills, overall, it’s still bad legislation,” Spiker said. “Putting in more regulations and making it more onerous on the law-abiding citizens of Virginia is not something we stand for.”
Gun-rights proponents who spoke with the Free Beacon after the committee meeting adjourned said they believed the Democrats’ gun-control bills represent an attack on the Second Amendment. Christina Baker, a traveling emergency nurse who came to the hearing before a 13-hour shift, said she understood that there are good intentions at work but fears an “assault weapons” ban or poorly constructed law could make her a criminal.
“I’m a single female that travels the country by myself in completely new areas,” she told the Free Beacon. “I never know where I’m going to end up, and to protect myself with whatever firearm I choose is so important to me. With the bills that are written and how they’re written, 90 percent of my firearms, including my carry firearms, would be made illegal, and I would be made a felon overnight.”