Virginia’s Gun Rights Battle Is Heating Up

Virginia's Gun Rights Battle Is Heating Up
  • Lawmakers push gun laws as localities declare themselves “sanctuaries” for gun rights.
  • Over 5,700 people say they’ll attend a gun rally on Capitol grounds.
  • Rally organizers say the event is kid-friendly.
  • Democrats control Virginia for the first time in 20 years.

( – The battle over gun rights is heating up in Virginia. This week, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and temporarily banned firearms on the Capitol grounds. His declaration comes less than a week before gun-rights activists are set to hold a rally.

Northam claims that he was forced to issue the order after reports surfaced of “out-of-state militia groups and hate groups planning to travel from across the country to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence.” The state of emergency will begin on Friday evening Jan. 17th and end Tuesday evening, Jan. 21st. In addition to guns, people will not be allowed to carry bats, chains, sticks, or other weapons.

Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) is hosting the rally on Monday. The event page on Facebook shows more than 5,000 people are indicating that they will attend. The group, however, thinks that Northam found another way to infringe on their rights.

The state has become Ground Zero for gun rights in the US in recent months. According to VCDL, 135 local governments have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries in Virginia. They’ve said they will not enforce any unconstitutional gun control laws.

Conflicts between Democrats and Second Amendment supporters began in earnest as the party took control over the state for the first time decades. In December, the governor said that gun control laws were on his agenda when the new state Assembly started its term in January. Things heated up significantly when Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly said the governor may have to call the National Guard to enforce the laws:

“And ultimately, I’m not the governor, but the governor may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law. That’s his call, because I don’t know how serious these counties are and how severe the violations of law will be. But that’s obviously an option he has.”

The Virginia National Guard, for their part, said they would not speculate on these matters.

On Monday, the State Senate Judiciary Committee advanced four gun control bills. One of the bills is a red flag law that’ll allow police to confiscate guns from people they believe are a threat. Many people argue red flag laws strip citizens of their right to due process. Certainly, this is one bill the gun proponents will be challenging.

The VCDL maintains that the rally next week will be peaceful. Time will tell.

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