Monday’s gun rally wasn’t violent, thankfully. But there was a lot to see at the Capitol that day nonetheless.
Tens of thousands of people from throughout Virginia and all over the nation descended on the Capitol Building Monday for a massive pro-gun rally, and the big headline in the wake of the event was that, despite widespread fears that kept many from venturing anywhere near downtown Richmond on Monday, no violence occurred. The extensive precautions taken by the state’s government in advance of the event was an important factor in the relatively calm event that ensued.
The lack of vocal opposition on hand may also have helped keep the peace; gun violence advocates, some of whom had originally planned lobbying events of their own, chose to stay away, giving the event much more of a unified crowd that united on common pro-gun grounds, regardless of their disagreements about other issues.
Despite the fact that Governor Ralph Northam, who had declared a state of emergency a few days before the rally, had banned anything remotely classifiable as a weapon within the designated lobbying area on the Capitol grounds, there were plenty of firearms to be found. With the crowd spilled onto the streets surrounding the Capitol, where there were no regulations on what sort of weaponry people could carry, there was an abundance of armaments in evidence.
Vendors hawked “God, Guns & Trump” t-shirts, and protesters carried signs and engaged props to make their point: that the Virginia General Assembly should not pass any laws restricting the possession and sale of guns within the state in any way, shape, or form, no matter how minor.
How the General Assembly will react to this massive display remains to be seen. For now, here are some of the most indelible images of the day, captured by our photographers on the scene.
Top Photo by Liam Kennedy.