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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

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

8 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios