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Gun rights advocates in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 20. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Thousands of Second Amendment activists gathered in Richmond, Va., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to protest proposed gun restrictions under consideration in the Democratic-controlled legislature.

Why it matters: The city avoided the chaos that broke out during a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 that left one person dead and around two dozen others injured. The organizers of the 2017 rally said they had planned to attend Monday's gathering.

  • White supremacists, antigovernment militias and other extremists groups also said they planned to attend Monday's rally.
  • The FBI on Thursday arrested three men who have ties to a white supremacist group who said they had planned who attend the rally and were preparing for a possible race war, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Of note: The rally is part of Lobby Day, an annual event where citizens talk with legislators about upcoming measures. Monday's demonstration against gun control laws was organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

The big picture: Hundreds of the demonstrators carried semi-automatic rifles and wore camouflage clothing and military-style helmets and boots.

  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) ordered a state of emergency days before and banned weapons from Virginia's Capitol grounds. The state installed a security perimeter around the Capitol with a single entrance, the New York Times reports.
  • No incidents or arrests on the Capitol grounds were reported. Around 5,482 people had entered the grounds as of 10 a.m., according to the NYT.

What they're saying: President Trump tweeted during the rally, "The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!"

By the numbers: A Washington Post-Schar School poll released a month before the election that flipped both legislative houses in Virginia found that "3 out of 4 voters rated gun policy a very important issue. "

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with developments.

Go deeper: As Richmond braces for hate, Americans say race relations are getting worse

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
22 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.