USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The “rabble” has officially been roused in the commonwealth of Virginia, and there is serious potential for things to get ugly.
We strongly urge defenders of gun rights to be calm and careful as they stand firm for their rights. The hyperbole has gotten heated and has been fed by extremists from both sides, making exaggerated claims, threats, and pronouncements.
This whole mess could easily get out of hand in short order, but the situation isn’t nearly as precarious as the hype is trying to paint it.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League has been very effective in spreading the idea of Second Amendment Sanctuary zones, mostly in counties, and also in some municipalities.
The movement is primarily symbolic, a loud message to legislators in Richmond that the people are not happy with the direction they are threatening to take the state. Unfortunately, the Democrat leadership has been responding with threats and name-calling. Rather than seriously listening to the concerns of their citizens, and that has resulted in an escalating hyperbole war.
On the first day of the legislative session, Democrats in leadership used their slim majority to ram through a new rule forbidding firearms in the Capitol and adjacent administrative buildings, and they have been exploring ways to restrict legal firearms from the Capitol grounds. They claimed that the move was made at the request of the police who guard the Capitol, but the head of that agency denied this, stating unequivocally that neither he nor his agency had made any such request or suggestion. The latest rumor is that anti-rights Democrat Governor Northam might declare an Emergency to ban guns from the Capitol grounds. It’s just a rumor, but it would be a huge mistake.
The Democrats’ moves are in response to the publicity surrounding this year’s annual VCDL Lobby Day Rally, planned for this coming Monday, January 20, 2020. That is when thousands of gun rights advocates are expected to rally on the Capitol grounds and visit legislators’ offices to insist that the U.S. and State constitutions be respected and obeyed.
For years, there has been no rule requiring duly licensed citizens to disarm before entering the Capitol Building, and as an “open carry” state, Virginia citizens have always been able to carry on the Capitol grounds lawfully. To my knowledge, there has never been any sort of serious problem as a result of this respectful policy. When I attended Lobby Day in 2008, I spoke with several law enforcement officers who were working the event. All expressed their appreciation for the rights activists’ friendly and courteous demeanor, and told me that they had no concerns about our people causing any problems. Several of the officers I spoke with had worked the rally numerous times in the past, and they said that gun rights proponents were among their favorite groups.
As with all gun control efforts, the issue with disarming people at the Capitol isn’t about what actually happens, but rather about what could happen – what someone might do. In other words, irrational fear and mistrust.
I was a guest speaker at the VCDL Lobby Day in 2008, less than a year after the tragic attack at Virginia Tech. As a Virginia Citizen with a concealed carry license, I was able to lawfully carry as I visited my elected servants and spoke with the crowds outside. Everything was very peaceful and comfortable, even though the Brady Bunch was there holding a “counter-rally” and staged a “die-in” on the Capitol lawn. I even had a brief and polite discussion on-camera, with a young man who had been a victim of the Virginia Tech shooting. He related how he had crouched behind a chair, dialing 911 on his cellphone as they heard the attacker moving down the hall to their room. He insisted that he puts his trust in the police (who were, no doubt, on their way to help, while he and his classmates were being shot) and didn’t believe that having a gun would have helped. I responded that having carried a gun on my hip through most of my time in college (even though it was against school policy), I was sure that, rather than anxiously dialing a phone, I would have been crouched behind that chair with my pistol at the ready, and I’m confident that I would have ended the attack the moment the murderer stepped into the doorway. He suggested that he didn’t want to “live in fear” like that, and stuck with his position on mandatory helplessness, but we shook hands and I wished him well. He went on to be a spokesperson for the Brady Campaign for several years.
I expect the rally on the 20th to be just as safe and peaceful as the rally in 2008 and all of the gun rights rallies before and since have been. But I also expect many politicians and their media allies to try to paint the rights activists who attend, in the worst possible light. They will be looking for pictures and videos of people on our side behaving badly, displaying racist or neo-nazi emblems, or those few who will insist on turning out in full camo or battle-rattle, with their “scary-looking rifles” on their shoulders.
I encourage everyone who can, to please attend, but please don’t feed the opposition’s propaganda machine. There will be no large group of Antifa clowns there trying to cause trouble.
The opposition protesters from the Brady Bunch, Everytown for Gun Prohibition, and Mad Mommies Demanding Bubble-Wrap will be obnoxious, but not dangerous. So there’s no need to arm-up for safety, and we’re not there to intimidate anyone. The objective is to let politicians know that they will pay a severe price in the next election if they keep running after Mike Bloomberg’s money, and that’s all. Speculation about a second Civil War is not productive, nor are Confederate battle flags, or anything else that the media can use to paint our group as racist or violent.
We are the good guys. The prohibitionists have already started backing away from the worst of their proposals, but they’ll use any negative imagery from the rally to revive those proposals, so don’t give it to them, and don’t let anyone think that their minor concessions are a victory for us. We demand that they back away from all of their nonsense, not just the worst of it and that demand won’t succeed if we scare the soccer moms. So best foot forward on the road to victory.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.