Richmond braces for gun rights rally, fears violence from white supremacists

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RICHMOND, Virginia (WTVR/CNN) – Virginia’s temporary state of emergency begins today.

This means no weapons allowed on state capitol grounds.

“This includes everything from sticks and bats to chains and projectiles. this list also includes firearms,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

The ban ends Tuesday, one day after a Martin Luther King Jr. Day gun rights event in Richmond.

“We have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday,” said Northam.

On Thursday the FBI arrested three alleged members of The Base, a white supremacist group, and charged them with firearms and immigration-related offenses.

A law enforcement official said the men were believed to have been heading to the gun rally.

“Whether that means that they were going to recruit, whether that means that they were planning on an action,” said Joshua Fisher-Birch, a research analyst with the Counter Extremism Project, “but really the ability of law enforcement to disrupt whatever this was I think is a major a major victory.”

Federal agents say members of The Base had chatroom discussions on bomb-making, military-style training camps and creating a white ethno-state.

But this temporary ban, and other recent gun legislation, have upset some gun owners.

“The gun free zones have been a problem,” said John Ring, a Virginia resident. “They’re making more of them basically doubling down on a bad idea.”

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, the group heading Monday’s gun rally, is calling on its members to act peacefully at the rally.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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