Jan 15, 2020

Ralph Northam temporarily bans weapons from Virginia Capitol amid threats

Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) announced a temporary weapons ban for the Virginia Capitol and declared a state of emergency in anticipation of a gun-rights rally scheduled for Monday that is eliciting "serious threats," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Northam says he implemented the ban to avoid a repeat of Charlottesville, referring to the violence that followed a 2017 "Unite the Right" rally. That deadly event became a defining moment as white nationalism surged.

“We’re seeing threats of violence. We’re seeing threats of armed confrontation and assault on our capitol ... These are considered credible, serious threats from our law enforcement agencies."
— Gov. Ralph Northam

Details: Monday's rally attendees will be required to go through a security checkpoint.

  • State police are expecting thousands of people. Authorities anticipate many participants will openly carry guns in permitted areas, as allowed by state law.
  • Gun-rights advocates with the Virginia Citizens Defense League, including militia groups and ultraconservative demonstrators hope to block gun-control legislation from moving through the state assembly.

Go deeper: Virginia General Assembly passes Equal Rights Amendment

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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.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020

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