Body armour and semi-automatics – gun activists take to the streets

In a crowd where hundreds of men had semi-automatic weapons slung casually around their necks, and pistols in holsters at their side, one man told me this was the “safest place on earth”. You wouldn’t want to argue.

Thousands of gun owners had gathered in Richmond, Virginia in a show of armed strength directed at a Democratic governor who they claim is intent on infringing their constitutional right to bear arms.

Tensions have escalated in the days leading up to the protest because Governor Ralph Northam claimed there was intelligence to indicate that extremists and militias were intending to cause trouble.

He declared a state of emergency which banned weapons being brought into the grounds of the state capitol.

An armed militia member at a gun rights rally near Virginia's Capitol, in Richmond
Image:There was some serious weaponry on show
Two people from an armed militia gather on a Gun Lobby Day near the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, Virginia

A fence was erected around the building and those wanting to enter were searched.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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