RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gun-rights activists — some making deliberate displays of their military-style rifles — began to descend on Virginia’s capital city Monday to protest plans by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation.
Several thousand activists — mostly white and male, many clothed in camouflage and waving flags with messages of support for President Donald Trump — appeared hours before the 11 a.m. rally was set to begin.
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Gov. Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency days ahead of the rally, banning all weapons, including guns, from the event on Capitol Square. The expected arrival of thousands of gun-rights activists — along with members of militia groups and white supremacists — raised fears the state could again see the type of violence that exploded in Charlottesville in 2017.