By WILLIAM PAINE
Monday, Jan. 20, Lobby Day at the Virginia state capitol in Richmond was dominated by tens of thousands of pro Second Amendment supporters who came to voice their displeasure at new gun control laws that are set to be passed by the Democrat dominated General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.
In advance of the widely publicized event, governor Northam declared a temporary state of emergency and warned of the potential for violence at the rally. Instead, no incidents of violence were reported, though the crowd was sometimes boisterous chanting several slogans including, We will not comply and Guns save lives.
The latter phrase proved to be ubiquitous, as most everyone in the crowd had a bright orange Guns Save Lives sticker on some part of their clothing. Pro-Trump hats and shirts were also a popular form of attire at the rally.
Due to the declaration of a state of emergency, a temporary chain link fence was erected around the capitol grounds and Virginia State Police wearing bright yellow safety vests were deployed in great numbers in and around the capitol. Several streets were also closed off for the occasion.
To enter the capitol grounds, one had to wait in a long line because all those entering were obliged to walk through a metal detector. In addition, those entering the grounds were wanded by a state police officer before being allowed through.
Several citizens of the New River Valley made the trip to Richmond for the event. According to Tom Miller, of Newport in Giles County, 16 busses came from all parts of the NRV.
Im not a gun nut, just a gun owner and I looked at the laws being proposed and its really scary, said Miller. I know several law enforcement people that are friends and theyre concerned about enforcement of these laws.
Two residents from the Town of Pulaski, Twila Clark and John DeLad, also made their way to the Lobby Day event. They both traveled four and a half hours to come to the event and both were quite happy to be there, though Twila did note how the 30 degree temperatures paired with high winds affected her.
Im freezing, said Twila.
But what prompted them to make the trek?
The Second Amendment is all about human rights and theyre constantly chipping away at it, said DeLad. So Im glad the people are protesting and letting them know that weve had enough of them treading on the Second Amendment. They want to disarm us. This is just the start of what theyve got going on. People are here from other states because they know what happens here will affect everyone eventually.
People from other states were most definitely present. This reporter spoke to individuals from several states.
The Second Amendment rights defend all of the rest of the rights and were here to defend it, said a fellow from Montana who drove 2,400 miles with his group to get to Richmond.
Others, many of whom were visibly armed with large guns, came from Indiana, Michigan, Oregon and several other far flung locations. Most of those present, however, came from the Commonwealth.
Noah Reaser and Cameron Thompson came from Virginia Beach and both had their AR 15s strapped to their personal body armor.
Its a matter of fact that the AR-15 is just one of the best designed rifles out there, Reaser stated. Its just easy to use. It shoots a very small cartridge, thats actually too small to hunt deer. Lots of things people say about this rifle is simply not true. It doesnt shoot a high powered cartridge compared to other rifles.
Darlene Moehling and her sister Kathy Brown came from Midlothian, Virginia, and were surprisingly stalwart in their defense of the Second Amendment.
Its so important to realize the Second Amendment is not about hunting rights, its about protecting ourselves and our families from a tyrannical government, said Darlene. If you look what is happening right now with impeachment, you can clearly see the government is out of control. For all the housewives in Midlothian, I am here showing support.
If you take away the Second Amendment, then why not the First Amendment and theyre very close to taking away the First Amendment as it is now with all of these laws around hate speech, said sister Kathy. The First Amendment is not about being able to say what everybody wants to hear. Its about being able to voice the things people dont want to hear and being able to do that with freedom.
Though the General Assembly was in session, Senator Ben Chafin, who represents the 38th District, made time to speak with The Southwest Times about Mondays rally.
This event was well-planned and the people who attended were respectful, stated Chafin. They were very enthusiastic about their First Amendment rights and their Second Amendment rights and I think theres a movement afoot that hopefully is gaining momentum, as we speak.
When asked about rumors of violence surrounding the rally, Chafin had this to say.
We heard from the governor about the possibility of violence and a congressman made certain statements about bringing in the National Guard. I think that a lot of hype and hyperbole can create fear. Weve been doing this for years and years and I dont see anything different about this year except that more people turned out because they understand that some of their protections and rights are threatened. These red flag laws are not designed to protect anybody. These laws are designed to take guns away from lawful gun owners.
John Veldhuyven came from Fredericksburg with his dad. He was carrying a sign that supported gay marriage and the right to defend ones marijuana crops with a firearm.
I believe in representing individual liberty and supporting human rights, said Veldhuyven. I believe that ultimately people own themselves your one true birthright. When you are born, you own your life. And how that relates to guns is you have the right to defend yourself. That same reasoning applies to all the other rights on this line. If I own my life, I have the right to consume whatever substance I see fit. I have the right to live my life with whoever I see fit.
As some have mentioned, the day went off without a hitch. Several speakers, brought in by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, addressed the crowd and were met with enthusiastic cheers.
Perhaps the most vociferous moment of the gathering was when everyone present began singing the National Anthem, which was immediately followed by chants of U.S.A. U.S.A.!
All told, the crowd of several thousand acted with self-restraint. Several of those gathered made a point of personally thanking many of the hundreds of state police that were present for coming to the rally.
In addition, unlike other rallies for other causes held in the same location and throughout the country, participants in the gun rights rally made a point of picking up any trash from the capitol grounds and surrounding streets as they left.
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Lobby Day attracts 2A advocates from the NRV and beyond - Southwest Times
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