[VCDL President Philip] Van Cleave has encouraged his members to stay in their cars but said that nothing prohibits them from getting out and stretching their legs around Richmond. If they’re carrying firearms, he said, so be it.
A slate of gun control groups is using the prospect of armed demonstrators milling around town to tout a proposal to ban the open carrying of firearms in Virginia. One of the groups, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, will push the idea in a virtual event on Monday that Northam is scheduled to attend.
“We’ve seen armed intimidation at the Capitol for years,” Lori Haas, the coalition’s Virginia director, said Friday in an interview. “After the violent insurrection that happened last week — which would have been more deadly without D.C.’s strong gun laws, including a ban on open carry — it’s time that Virginia … ban open carry in public.”
Van Cleave dismissed any notion that his members pose a threat. For 25 years, he said, the Citizens Defense League has held rallies on Lobby Day in Richmond without any violence.
— Gregory S. Schneider in Virginia officials on edge as pro-gun caravans prepare to gather in Richmond on Monday