More here.....What to know before Virginia's gun rights rallyGov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency amid fears that Monday's demonstration in Richmond will turn violent.
RICHMOND, Va. — As most Americans are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, residents here are bracing for a massive gun rights rally at the state Capitol. Here's what you need to know before the demonstration:
Who's going?Every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Virginia Citizens Defense League holds a "Lobby Day" event at the Capitol to advocate for gun rights. The demonstration usually attracts a few hundred attendees. But this year's event is expected to swell because the Democratic-controlled Legislature is proposing several gun control measures, some of which would limit handgun purchases and require background checks.
The Defense League says it wants a "peaceful event," but law enforcement, the governor and residents fear that violence will erupt as white nationalists and far-right militias from throughout the country are expected to attend. Some saw President Donald Trump's tweet Friday, saying "Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia," as a call to join Monday's rally.
On Thursday, three members of a neo-Nazi group called The Base, which advocates for a white ethno-state, were arrested on the East Coast. Law enforcement officials said they had been planning to attend the rally. The next day, officials announced the arrests of three men from Georgia and one from Wisconsin, all alleged to be members of The Base.
The Base, which was formed about two years ago, says that it is neither a political organization nor a paramilitary group and that it has no clear formal leadership.
Defense League President Philip Van Cleave, a self-proclaimed "extremist," said he believes the Oath Keepers, a far-right group based in Nevada, will be in attendance, according to The Associated Press. On far-right corners of the internet, some have said the rally will accelerate a "race war."