Jan 17, 2020

Virginia AG asks state Supreme Court not to overturn gun ban

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Photo: H. Darr Beiser for The Washington Post via Getty Image

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring insisted on Friday that the state Supreme Court not overturn a temporary weapons ban the governor enacted for a planned gun-rights rally at the state Capitol next Monday, AP reports.

Why it matters: The FBI assisted the police on Thursday in arresting six men linked to a violent white supremacist group known as The Base, at least three of whom were thought to be planning to attend the rally in Richmond, AP writes.

Background: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam temporarily banned weapons at the state Capitol earlier this week, and declared a state of emergency due to evidence suggesting that Monday's attendees could break out in violence.

  • The Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America filed an emergency appeal on Thursday.
  • Herring argued the ban is crucial to avoid the kind of violence seen during 2017's nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
  • He added the ban does not violate rally-goers' Second Amendment rights because the restriction is justified for the public safety of all.
  • It remains unclear when the Supreme Court will rule.

Go deeper: Virginia General Assembly passes Equal Rights Amendment

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Trump tweets in support of pro-gun activists ahead of Virginia rally

President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As Richmond braces for thousands of demonstrators on Monday, President Trump tweeted in support of pro-gun activists, saying the Second Amendment is "under very serious attack" in the state.

The state of play: Protesters are expected to pour onto state Capitol grounds in response to Virginia Democrats' sweeping gun control proposals. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and temporarily banned weapons around the Capitol. The Virginia state Supreme Court upheld Northam's ban Friday, Reuters reports.

Go deeperArrowJan 18, 2020

What we know: Richmond, Va., Second Amendment rally

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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 20, 2020

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

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Note: 6,637 respondents, ±1.7 percentage points margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

The city of Richmond, Va., is bracing for potential violence — another “Charlottesville,” in the worst-case scenario — as thousands are expected to converge on the state capitol Monday to protest gun restriction legislation.

Why it matters: On a day that is meant to celebrate what would have been the 91st birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., the nation is grappling with emboldened white nationalist groups and racial tension. Surveys show a majority of Americans believe race relations are getting worse under President Trump.

Go deeperArrowJan 20, 2020