Virginia Citizens Defense League Richmond Lobby Day
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert
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The Virginia Citizens Defense League, who hosted more than 25,000 firearm-toting citizens last January at the Richmond Statehouse — an event that electrified the 2A nation — has come up with an even more dynamic plan for their 2021 Lobby Day scheduled for January 18..

VCDL leaders are detouring away from a 17-year tradition of open carry assembly and speechmaking at the foot of historic the Bell Tower on the Capitol grounds in Richmond, and will instead organize Second Amendment 2A Rolling Thunder caravans to converge on the city from all four corners of the Old Dominion on January 18.

Under the hashtag #Rolling4the2a, the plan is modeled on the the horn-blowing, banner-waving “Trump Train“ vehicle caravans that were so prominently featured on cable news coverage over the last year.

Virginia Citizens Defense League Richmond Lobby Day
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

Once in Richmond, gun rights supporters will have choices: stay in the vehicles and continue in “parade mode,”  or hop out of their vehicles and openly carry their firearms on their afternoon walks in the city, all while the caravan drivers continue to circulate with flags and banners around the Statehouse district.

The VCDL says the departure times and progress of the four #Rolling4the2a bus-and-vehicle caravans on Lobby Day will be posted on social media so that participants can link up with procession on the way to Richmond.

Additionally, VCDL President Philip Van Cleave has announced that they are working on a plan to distribute gun rights flags and placards to vehicle drivers to showcase the caravans on their journeys to the Statehouse district.

“We will have flags and magnetic signs for all the vehicles taking part in this event, so everyone watching the seemingly never-ending flow of vehicles will have no doubt about the mission of those vehicles.”

Virginia Citizens Defense League Richmond Lobby Day
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

Van Cleave adds that there will also be “decked out buses wrapped with pro-gun messages” in each caravan for those that want to leave the driving to a pro.

As for the patriots on the speaker’s roster for Lobby Day, they are still in the mix, too.

Van Cleave says those at the microphone on January 18th will be connecting with caravan participants and spectators with real-time messages that will be channeled to cell phones, tablets and laptops, rather than through loudspeakers on the capitol grounds.

The VCDL’s decision to shun the rally permit process closes out decades of requesting government permission to assemble just yards from the Statehouse on the third Monday every January.

The current calculation is simple: gun rights supporters abhor “gun-free zones,” so quit participating in any permit process that — by law — will now trigger one.

Another way to look at it is this: the VCDL decision to step away from rally hosting means that all Second Amendment activists arriving in Richmond on January 18th will do so as “tourists” with a gun rights point of view.

That being the case, many are also now asking: what happens with the core mission of sending teams of gun rights supporters into the Statehouse to lobby the legislators? With the near certainty that the Virginia General Assembly will be closed to the public in 2021, the VCDL is encouraging its members to shift their advocacy to over emails, phone calls, and Zoom visits.

As always, the VCDL strongly urges #rolling4the2A caravan participants to review Virginia regulations relating to the transportation and open carry of certain rifles and handguns and, in particular, to magazine capacity stipulations. Links to this guidance can be found at the end of this article.

VCDL President Phil Van Cleave says this of the new strategy:

“We are in a war for our right to keep and bear arms and we know that you have to be flexible and quick on your feet to keep the enemies of freedom at bay.”

The VCDL decision to walk away from the traditional rally permit is just the latest plot twist in a political tug of war that has been going for decades. Those who have followed the VCDL know that gun control lobbyists have conspired with anti-gun Virginia politicians for years to hamper efforts by firearms activists to gather on the Statehouse grounds each January.

In 2019, with the Democrats gaining total control of the Virginia Statehouse, the animus emanating from gun haters was dialed up to an 11. Gone were the days of Democrats being satisfied with just denying the VCDL routine access to electrical power to run a sound system, or limiting the group to low-power loudspeakers that were not adequate to the task.

In total control and lacking any effective Republican opposition, Governor Ralph Northam — known in Virginia and well outside its borders as Governor Blackface for his shameful and racist face-blackening as a young adult — declared the Statehouse grounds a “gun-free zone” prior to last year’s Lobby Day.

What followed was the padlocking of every entrance leading to VCDL’s traditional assembly area, thereby forcing thousands of unarmed 2A supporters to funnel through a single gate where they were subjected to metal detector scans and bag searches.

Virginia Citizens Defense League Richmond Lobby Day
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

Most egregious of all, the scheme created an unconscionable threat. Thousands of defenseless citizens risked being harmed trying to exit the rally in the event of an emergency, or if there was an extremist attack by opponents. But the Governor and his Democrat overlords were unconcerned about the immense danger they had created.

Virginia Citizens Defense League Richmond Lobby Day
The Virginia state Capitol building is surrounded by fencing in preparation for the VCDL lobby day gun rights rally in January, 2020. (Dean Hoffmeyer/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Now, in the run up to the 2021 Lobby Day, comes word that gun control groups and their allies in the Statehouse employed backroom maneuvers more than a year ago to seize control of the permitted area where the VCDL and its supporters had gathered for 17 years.

The VCDL’s Van Cleave says their investigation shows the Democrats staged an end-run around the published permit regulations in order to poach the date.

And, according to new Democrat stipulations, any event the VCDL hosted on the Statehouse grounds could now be cancelled without notice, or even dispersed if — and Phil Van Cleave says this is not a joke — too many people attended their rally.

2020 VCDL lobby day at the capitol in Richmond, Virginia
2020 VCDL lobby day at the capitol in Richmond, Virginia (AP Photo/Sarah Rankin)

Van Cleave says he and his VCDL leadership team decided that from any perspective, the 2021 permit pathway had simply become a quicksand trap designed to suffocate 2A activism.

“VCDL will not be silenced by the gun prohibitionists and their dirty tricks. Our leadership thought long and hard on the best way to make sure that our voices would be heard while doing so without putting our members in legal jeopardy. We will continue to either walk around or climb over the various barriers that are thrown at us.”

As for the expected questions as to whether the VCDL’s “caravan-and-walkabout” plan can proceed without interference from anti-gun politicians, 2A activists can point to a recent Patriot Walk in downtown Richmond that amounted to a scaled-down, dry-run version of the 2021 Lobby Day plan.

It was on November 21 that a contingent of the Virginia Knights Militia conducted a Long Gun Open Carry on the streets that encircle the Virginia Statehouse. The Knights, led by their prominent activist leader Mike Dunn, strolled along the Virginia Statehouse fence line for part of their Saturday afternoon.

The walk took them past numerous city signs warning that “firearms are prohibited in public areas being used by, or is adjacent to, a permitted event, or at an event that would otherwise require a permit”

The Knights walkabout was broadcast live on Facebook by the widely-followed videographer Ford Fischer of News2Share.  Photos from the event can be seen here on the News2Share Facebook feed.

Posted by News2Share on Saturday, November 21, 2020

During the livestream, a significant number of police officers were seen deployed in the area of the walk. There were no challenges, warnings or arrests as the Virginia Knights proceeded on their route.

Posted by News2Share on Saturday, November 21, 2020

As the walk was underway, Fischer wondered aloud on his videostream if law enforcement was ignoring a direct provocation from the openly armed Knights, or if LE had a reason to keep their distance. Three days after the livestream, News2Share put that question to Richmond Police officials, with Fischer posting their response on Facebook:

“[The Richmond Police Department clarified] that the armed activists “walked through parts of the city, observed all applicable traffic ordinances and did not obstruct pedestrian or vehicle traffic. As such the group’s conduct did not rise to the level of requiring a permit, so the city ordinance was not applicable to the event on Saturday”.

If the courage and resourcefulness of the Virginia Knights Militia is any guide, the VCDL vehicle caravans and “walkabout” opportunities will proceed despite all the obstacles that gun control groups are trying to throw down.

Van Cleave says his group’s decision to wave goodbye to the traditional Statehouse grounds gathering has generated new energy and a new playbook that promises to outflank efforts by anti-gunners to suppress the enormous participation that marked Lobby Day 2020.

The bar was certainly set high last January. Scenes of Richmond streets choked with tens of thousands of long gun open carry participants led newscasts all across the USA. For gun rights advocates the shift to the new caravan-and-walkabout strategy actually raises the prospect that the overall turnout on the third Monday in January will be higher rather than thwarted in the way the gun control extremists had hoped.

Virginia Citizens Defense League Richmond Lobby Day
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

As for the gun-grabbers and their poached permit, they have announced plans to rally on the Statehouse grounds on January 18th. They will be huddled in their cherished “gun-free” zone, but may be distracted by a sea of energized gun rights supporters just outside the fence line.

Suffice it to say that the anti-gun forces have likely come to the realization that their too-clever-by-half gamesmanship has backfired in a big way, and that they have now been outplayed by more resourceful bunch at the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

Watch this space for more 2021 Lobby Day updates as the day approaches.

In the meantime the VCDL advises potential Lobby Day participants to read the following links to prepare for any open carry of firearms.

From the VCDL:

If you are planning to travel with a rifle or handgun, either as a resident or non-resident, please ensure you are aware of the applicable gun laws.  The Virginia State Police has some good information on transporting firearms:

Also, Virginia code 18.2-287.4 regulates the Open Carry of certain loaded rifles and handguns that have a magazine in them that can hold more than 20 rounds”.

VCDL advises that to do so you must have a valid Concealed Handgun Permit from Virginia or any other state.   Any citizen engaging in an Open Carry walkabout with a rifle or handgun carrying 20 rounds or less can do so without any permit.

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  1. Its called the right to bear arms for a reason. Its not open carry. It never was. You have a right to bear arms openly. Or you have a right to bear arms concealed. Its your choice as a free citizen. The “gun community” has many Libertarians, Liberals, Leftists, and conservatives, who are FUDD’s.

    If you don’t support the Bearing of Arms then you support the tyrants. If you are uncomfortable with people openly bearing arms then stay home. Don’t go out to places where free citizens express their liberty thru the open bearing of arms.

    • The tyrants of Virginia did not give a shit a year ago when 25,000 well mannered and well armed patriots petitioned their government and they don’t give a shit now.

      • They didn’t give much of a shit, it’s true, although we did get the assault weapons ban and the mag capacity ban defeated. We also got the red flag law watered down. But you are right, those kind of demonstrations only have a limited effect. Elections are what count. It was a damn impressive day, though. It was invigorating being around that many fired up pro gun people.

        • The AWB and high cap mag ban was not defeated, merely tabled for discussion by the crime commission, now partisan by appointing Lori Haas. AWB coming back this year, guess what the decision will be?

        • In 2020, it was proven that the only way to make your voice count was to commit widespread arson and beat opponents (and an unwitting bystander or two) into a coma.
          Do that, and a leading candidate for Vice President will call you heroes.

      • Oh, it concerned them alright. They just acted like it didn’t. Judging by their actions, reserving the venue out from under the VCDL, and changing the rules, it bothered them a lot. Just not enough to give up their gun grabbing ways. The whole gun control fight has turned in to an ego contest for Northram and his cronies. We’ll see how that works out in 2 years. Hopefully enough Virginians will come out and vote against this tyrant, tar and feather him (metaphorically) and send him down the road.

        • It doesn’t matter who you vote for, it only matters who counts the votes.
          I’d like to see that change by 2022, but I’m not holding my breath.

  2. I do like it when someone shows up to the party with something different, checkout the guy in the third photo from bottom with the Beretta ARX100 SBR with the custom paint job, well played Sir.

  3. Leaders of such gatherings need to cease with their usual rhetoric and for once define the democRat Party as the party that owes Reparations for slavery, segregation, lynching, Jim Crow, the KKK, Eugenics, Gun Control and other race based atrocities. And currently the party of slander, libel, socialism and what smells like election fraud…Otherwise the democRat Party and their media cohorts will once again define gun owning, flag waving Americans as racists, etc.

  4. “25,000 firearm-toting citizens” don’t mean a thing. The demons can get more votes than that from a cemetery.

    Guns don’t matter unless someone uses them.

  5. The socialist scum lied, harassed and spied on President Trump for 4 years. And their idea of “compromise” is to give them everything they want. Well, China joe gets treated just like President Trump was treated IF he becomes pResident. RESIST!

    • Now that President Trump’s ‘dream team’ wannabe attorneys have exhausted their frivolous lawsuits, they are now advocating violence against their political opponents and those who disagree with their delusional conspiracy theories:

      “Slow” Joe diGenova, an attorney for Trump’s campaign, said during an appearance on “The Howie Carr Show”: “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”
      A source familiar with Trump’s election challenges said diGenova is believed to still be helping Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, in challenging the presidential election results.“

      So is it now time for Q&Anon to come galloping in to save the day?

      Whatever happened to Hunter Biden being arrested for pedophilia and money laundering, I thought Trump had a laptop full of evidence against him, why no investigation and prosecution? What about Hillary, lock her up!

      Could it be it’s all BS, and you’ve been snookered by a NYC city slicker con job?

      Quick, send Trump more money, that’s the answer! What a bunch of rubes…

      • If the summer of 2020 showed us anything, it’s that violence and intimidation get results. Conservatives are slow to change (it’s in the definition), but more and more are coming around to that realization. You’re not going to enjoy losing your monopoly on “resistance.”

        • I am certain I will enjoy watching the parade of the Trump crime family into the courtroom to answer criminal charges in the very near future.

          “The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court records unsealed Tuesday in federal court.

          The case is the latest legal twist in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration after several of his top advisers have been convicted of federal criminal charges and as the possibility rises of Trump giving pardons to those who’ve been loyal to him.

          The disclosure is in 20 pages of partially redacted documents made public by the DC District Court on Tuesday afternoon. The records show Chief Judge Beryl Howell’s review in August of a request from prosecutors to access documents obtained in a search as part of a bribery-for-pardon investigation.“

          Years ago I used to know a guy who worked for USAID, he had a great little song that these days might apply to the Trump organization.

          “Yes we are winning, yes we are winning, for Saigon tells us so!”

          Replace Saigon with Trump and we have a great little ditty for the grifter-in-chief.

      • One thing we can say for sure is you 5th column leftist demoncRat fascists think you are going to roll REAL American citizens, abolish our Constitution, and individual liberties without paying a price you have another thing coming. Freedom loving Americans may lose in the end if God is sending judgement on this nation due to the evils perpetrated by the wicked, lawless, demoncRat leftist fascists but more than a few of you evil demoncRat fascists with fall along with decent Americans before it is all over.

  6. “…what happens with the core mission of sending teams of gun rights supporters into the Statehouse to lobby the legislators? ”
    Well, our legislators enabled the pre-emption by local authorities to begin with. And slamming the door in our faces in regard to actually lobbying legislators face-to-face?
    Freedom of assembly. freedom of speech, RKBA are not outmoded ideas and concepts. We will exercise our rights like free men.

    • Baldwin, you are not wrong, But much of our disappointment was brought on by ourselves.
      The greatest power to exercise as Free Men is voting and finding candidates.

      Had we showed up at the polls, we might have won……. we didn’t.
      Had we run qualified candidates we would have taken more seats……. but 25 seats ran UNOPPOSED!
      We didn’t feel obliged to get out and vote. And in 25 races we didn’t even run a candidate in opposition to the anti-2A candidates.
      The Dems didn’t win control. We simply let them have it.

  7. Can a lawsuit be filed to get the illegally obtained permits nullified? It seems like they were obtained under nefarious circumstances and could/should be null and void.

  8. “We will continue to either walk around or climb over the various barriers that are thrown at us.” — Virginia Citizens Defense League

    In other words we will continue to let Virginia government violate our right to peaceably assemble and petition government for a redress of grievances. Such blatant violations of the First and Second Amendments are obscene, wrong, and destructive.

    At what point do We the People finally determine that enough is enough and exercise our rights with gusto — and respond with whatever force is necessary to continue exercising our First and Second Amendment rights when government thugs police attempt to stop us?

    • At what point is enough, enough?

      When things go extraconstitional. But you need organization. It boils down to the filthy dems disarming individuals versus them disarming a nationwide militia.

      From what I see, VA has one of the most organized gun rights group in the nation. What needs to be done is to form similar state militia groups that comes under the umbrella of a national group. One thing is for sure, without organization you can’t put up a meaningful fight.

      The filthy dems are highly organized. And disarming the reps is tops on their
      Iist. Your plan to roll in and around Lobby Day seems to be a fine compromise.

      Good luck with the event.

    • The caravan idea has great potential.

      You do lose the impact of a giant group of people in the same place, but since the major media outlets aren’t on your side and the general public will never know how much support you really had most of that was lost anyway. And as demonstrated, there are far too many ways for unfriendly authorities to cripple a mass gathering that depends on from said authorities to use a single prearranged location.

      Nobody can stop vehicles from traveling individually into the city and then driving together on the street. And if enough people show up, it could paralyze or at least congest all the major city streets — locals will definitely see and feel that, whether it’s reported on or not. Plus, you could easily shut down an entire city that way if you wanted (not that you’d *want* to, but it might be a necessary demonstration), and there would be nothing the authorities could do about it.

      And again, if all the passengers just decide to get out and walk down the sidewalks together, nobody can do anything to stop it. And it’s something that could be repeated to good effect nationwide, too. THAT is effective organizing.

      Will it stop the unconstitutional assault on our civil rights? No way to know. It’s not likely to be *less* effective than previous tactics, at least.

  9. In other news, George Floyds killer exposed attempting to defraud the judicial system.

    “A judge has rejected a divorce settlement between Derek Chauvin and his wife, citing possible fraud”

    I guess his fraudulent asset preservation scheme didn’t work out…

    And in Georgia, bond has been denied yet again for Armaud Aubery’s killers, who are headed to prison for life.

    • Floyd overdosed and had a heart attack in the middle of being arrested. Don’t do drugs, pass counterfeit currency, refuse to return the product bought with counterfeit currency when given that opportunity, resist arrest, and swallow your stash, and you probably won’t die of a heart attack while being arrested.

      As for the divorce, I can’t fault a man being scapegoated and railroaded for trying to protect some his assets for his family while he’s being lynched by the SJW mob.

      • That’s not what the coroner said, but I guess you might know more than he does. Where did you get your medical training, and when did you examine the body?

    • BLM is nothing more than a get out the vote campaign for democrats and a piggy bank for a few of the higher ups. Oh yeah, and they’re a (corporate sponsored) terrorist organization.

  10. The only protests that work and turn out results are the radical, rioting, burning, destroying, thuggy and maiming type. We can be the peaceful protestors all day long, but as we have seen this year the radical method works. Time to put up or shut up!

    • The “radical” protest methods only work if your protesting based on an SJW “approved” method. Gun rights protests that turn violent will immediately be labeled right wing white supremacist violence by the govt and media. See Charleston for example. In this case, violent protest will NOT work. You have to win the culture war along with the rights.. govt and media are NOT on your side unlike BLM and defund movements

  11. I was at the rally last year and there were far more in attendance than the news reported 25,000. That’s ridiculous! There were 25k at the stadium remote parking lot where we loaded the transport buses.

    Don’t allow the wacko left to define or re-write this story. There were at least 60,000 there on lobby day 2020.

    • Unfortunately they already have and “We the People” have allowed it to happen by Our inability to fight back under a combined front. Something the Radical Mobs have achieved. As long as WE continue to concern ourselves about the how the Media portrays us Our Cause is lost before it begins. They already show their vitriol toward Freedom, Religion, anything outside their Ideology. but We can’t allow that to determine the How, When, and Where of Our fight to Protect and Preserve Our Rights, Freedoms and Way of Life. That’s whats been happening for the last 60 years and We can all see where that has got Us. When a Society Fears the consequences of fighting for their Rights/Freedoms…More than They Fear the Loss of those Rights/ Freedoms. They have become Subjects and Allowed Tyranny to Prevail. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  12. I suspect that Gov Northam and his minion Richmond Mayor Lavar Stoney aren’t finished making plans to derail our event. To me, it is no longer Lobby Day because the General Assembly will meet virtually, and I would expect face to face meetings with 2A supporters will not happen. I’m sure Northam will play the Covid card and attempt to shut the city down. As for me, I plan to take a page out of the liberal playbook and go as a peaceful protester since protesting in large groups seems to be allowed.

  13. They cannot ban individuals from Richmond’s public sidewalks.

    They cannot ban citizens from driving on Richmond public roads as long as the drivers are proceeding in a lawful manner.

    Yes, they may play games with road closures, but that does not preclude vehicle passengers from exiting their vehicles and taking to the sidewalks.

  14. I’m curious as to the following regarding the situation in Virginia, where years ago I lived for a while, near Hopewell. How did their blatantly Anti Gun/Anti Gun Rights Governor and state legislators obtain elective office?

  15. Given the recent evidence of election fraud nationally, I would bet that there was some of that in VA. as well.
    Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads cant be the entire answer to this embarrassment. They’re called the lying, cheating, dishonest Left for a reason.

    • “Given the recent evidence of election fraud nationally”

      Well, thank goodness, at last! Someone says there is evidence of election fraud.

      Gee, it sure would be swell if you could provide that to Rudy Giuliani and Jen Ellis, they seem to be having difficulty actually providing state and federal courts with, you know, that evidence thingy.

      Please give them a call as soon as possible, I’m sure they’d appreciate some actual evidence because they keep getting embarrassed in open court.

  16. You have to remember though, the violence and murder in our streets only works for the leftist demoncRat fascists because they WORK FOR the demoncRat party. They are the paramilitary wing of the demoncRat party and they only loot, burn and murder in demoncRat controlled areas so they will not be arrested or face any type of charges. It is just like how the demoncRats operated with their previous paramilitary wing, the KKK. When the demoncRats sent out the KKK to murder and terrorize they did not get arrested or charged either and the few that were charged were dismissed in the corrupt demoncRat controlled courts. The demoncRat run KKK has simply been morphed into “antifa” and “BLM inc.” They switched their white robes robes and hoods for black robes and hoods.

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