Armed Hopewell man protests outside Virginia delegate’s home over assault weapons bill

Virginia News

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A Hopewell man protested gun-control legislation outside the home of a northern Virginia Delegate over the weekend while armed with a loaded shotgun and handgun.

Brandon Howard, a gun-rights advocate and chairman of Hopewell’s Republican Committee, said he drove two hours to protest in front of the home of Del. Mark Levine (D) in Alexandria. Before hitting the road, Howard posted a video on Facebook addressing his concerns.

“I hope you kiss your wife, I hope you kiss your husband, I hope you kiss your children goodbye before you try to take mine,” Howard said in the video.

Pictures of Howard from Feb. 15 show him standing outside Levine’s home carrying a weapon with a long magazine, Virginia’s flag and a sign that read: “Withdraw House Bill 961.” The measure, which was introduced by Levine, would have banned the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including the popular AR-15 style rifles.

Levine’s bill would have also prohibited the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds. The delegate said he felt he was being threatened in his own home in order for him to change his position on the legislation, which failed to make it out committee after four Democratic state senators voted with Republicans to reject the proposed bill. The state crime commission will now study the bill.

On Wednesday, Howard spoke with 8News about Levine’s concerns.

“The only way it’s intimidating is if he’s a tyrant,” he said. “If he’s not a tyrant or trying to strip Americans from their rights, why would he be intimidated. The Constitution under the First Amendment doesn’t say I have to go to his office, it doesn’t say where I address my grievances to. It’s my choice.”

Levine said Howard’s actions were a direct threat and that he plans to press charges to the full extent of the law. Howard told 8News that he feels at most it would be a misdemeanor that comes with a fine and that it was well worth it.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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