RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thousands of gun-rights advocates traveled from across the country to make it to the Virginia State Capital for a massive rally on Monday.
Rallygoers standing up for their Second Amendment rights shared a clear message to lawmakers on Lobby Day: re-direct attention from gun-control laws and towards mental health issues.
The crowd of 22,000 included militia members, gun owners, citizens and advocates from out of state. They traveled to Richmond to let lawmakers know how they feel about recent gun-safety measures being pushed in the Virginia General Assembly.
“We are at that point with these laws that they’re passing, they are not constitutional laws,” Christian Yingling, who is with the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, told 8News.
“I got my rifle,” Florida resident Andy Nguyen said Monday. “Drove up here to support the boys of Virginia.” Nguyen told 8News he drove more than 800 miles to make it to the rally.
Members of the Light Foot Militia drove from South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Arizona to assemble with flags and march in solidarity.
“We need to change the narrative that guns are evil, they aren’t evil,” Yingling said. “What’s evil is the person pulling the trigger. We need to address the real issue. Ya know, you don’t ban forks because they make people fat. One of the biggest thing we need to address in this country is the mental health crisis.”
Second Amendment supporters agreed change needs to happen but that nothing will change by taking guns away.
“We need to start with mental health,” said King William County resident Victor Purchase. “If they aren’t pro-Second Amendment, they aren’t pro-American.”
Most gun-rights advocates told 8News that they were happy to see a peaceful rally Monday where they could voice their opinions.