Virginia’s capital braces for gun-rights rally

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s capital city is bracing for the expected arrival of thousands of gun-rights activists and other groups that have vowed to descend on Richmond to protest Democrats’ plans to pass gun-control legislation.

Gov Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency days ahead of yesterday’s rally, banning all weapons including guns from the event on Capitol Square. Militia groups and white supremacists were among those expected to mix with gun-rights activists, raising fears the state could again see the type of violence that exploded in Charlottesville in 2017.

Virginia’s solicitor general told a judge on Thursday that law enforcement had identified “credible evidence” armed out-of-state groups planned to come to the state with the possible intention of participating in a “violent insurrection.”

Toby Heytens also suggested during his arguments in a lawsuit by gun advocates that challenged the weapons ban that the crowd could number in the tens of thousands.

Gun-rights supporters rally on the steps of the Washington Capitol, in Olympia, Washington. PHOTO: AP