RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Wednesday in advance of expected demonstrations on Capitol Square on Monday, January 20, 2020.
Northam claimed at a press conference Wednesday that law enforcement intelligence analysts have identified credible threats of violence surrounding the event, along with white nationalist rhetoric and plans by out-of-state militia groups to attend.
The Governor’s declaration prohibits all weapons, including firearms, from Capitol grounds. According to Northam, these measures will provide joint law enforcement and public safety agencies the resources they need to keep demonstrators, policymakers, and all Virginians safe.
This emergency declaration is temporary and extends from Friday, January 17 at 5:00 PM until Tuesday, January 21 at 5:00 PM.
Virginia Democrats have made it a legislative priority to enact gun control measures in the state of Virginia. Over 100 towns and counties have declared themselves ‘Second Amendment Sanctuaries.’ Anywhere between 30,000 and 100,000 Virginians are expected to show up to Richmond on Monday, January 21 to protest gun control measures.
Because there’s no electoral college in the state’s elections, heavily populated northern Virginia (which includes areas just outside of the very liberal D.C.) determines the state representatives — even if those elected leaders do not reflect the majority of the state’s populous. That’s how leaders like Democratic Governor Northam gain power, and that’s how strict gun laws are enacted — something Virginia citizens have recently decided they’d like to fight.
But when Northam, and other state legislators, caught wind of the protest, the governor banned all citizens from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights at the state Capitol.
Northam is making a political point, escalating the situation, rubbing salt in the wound, and effectively lumping all law-abiding citizens under the “radical right” umbrella.
While Antifa groups are most famous for sometimes-violent protests against right-wing groups, the Richmond-based Antifa Seven Hills is joining 2nd Amendment supporters in support of gun rights.
“I think it’s been pretty important for us to focus on the fact that gun control in America has a legacy of racist enforcement,” Seven Hills spokesperson James told Vice, requesting that his last name be withheld from publication. “Like taking guns away from black people, because black people were perceived as a threat to property and the sanctity of the state.”
Several leftist gun rights groups have formed in response to the election of President Trump. This includes Redneck Revolt, which was established in 2016, and the Socialist Rifle Association, which was formed in 2018 and has chapters in all 50 states.
“I think what’s particular about the South is that we have to be a bit more creative and sensitive to the people around us — instead of fulfilling some sort of meme of what antifa is,” James said. “That’s really what we’re trying to work against right now, especially by talking to conservatives and showing we aren’t just a black-clad group of rabble-rousers who are out for attention and have jobs funded by George Soros.”
However, social media reports have warned ANTIFA is planning to infiltrate the rally to start a fight, ” “I’m in Richmond and have just received information from a very reliable source concerning Monday’s rally against the legislature’s gun grabs. Antifa has rented seven buses to bring in their thugs to cause trouble. The report says they will be wearing MAGA hats and wearing NRA garb. They will pretend to be pro-gun people. Others posing as democrats holding anti-gun signs will stand on the side. The Antifa thugs, pretending to be pro-gun, will attack the sign holders. Making it look like the pro-gun people have started the violence. This is the plan. If you are attending the rally be aware. Be very careful.”
So it goes.