Virginia Gun Rally Ends With No Arrests, Peaceful Demonstrations
Thousands of gun-rights activists and other groups amassed at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on Monday before the rally dispersed. According to local reports, there were no arrests and the demonstration was described as peaceful.
There were fears that some militia groups would attempt to carry out acts of violence during the demonstration, which was held in opposition to proposed laws in the state legislature that would further restrict gun ownership. Those reported threats prompted Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, to declare a state of emergency that banned all weapons on the Capitol’s grounds until Tuesday.
At around 1:30 p.m. police wrote on social media that the Capitol Square had emptied out. There had been no arrests.
“You’re never going to get the criminals to turn in their weapons,” demonstrator Bill Hayden told reporters. “That’s why we’re here. None of us have committed a crime. Go take care of the criminals. Don’t take the guns from us.”
“It’s a right that’s it. Just like your First Amendment Right, Freedom of Speech, Fourth Amendment Right, Sixth Amendment Right, 14th Amendment Right, which leads back to the Second,” added Mark Cheeseman in the report. “There’s really no argument. It’s non-negotiable.”
Gun rights groups sought to block the state of emergency gun ban in a state court and argued it infringed on their right to assembly. A judge denied their motion last week, and their subsequent appeal wasn’t taken up by the state’s Supreme Court, effectively leaving the weapons ban in place.
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