Thankfully, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld Governor Ralph Northam's executive order banning all guns from the Virginia Capitol grounds on Monday when gun fanatics and likely unsavory and dangerous "militia" members will descend on Richmond from across the country to try to intimidate legislators into not passing gun control legislation that a majority of Virginians want - perhaps even more now that they have seen the extremism of the gun lobby. With the FBI's arrest of now seven (7) white supremacist extremists who hoped to ignite a race war at the Capitol, the wisdom of Northam's preemptive strike with his executive order is all the more clear. As for the whining of the gun nuts, there is no reason they cannot lobby legislators without being armed in what can only be viewed as an attempt at threats and intimidation. The New York Times has a good overview of what has happened and what is known about some of the bad actors headed to Richmond at the invitation of the misnamed Virginia Citizens Defense League (which to me looks more like a group of all white vigilantes based on photos of the group's meetings) and strongly suggests a peaceful rally was perhaps never the goal. Add to this the reality that most "gun rights" groups receive funding from gun manufacturers who want to maximize sales regardless of the death and mayhem that results and it becomes clear that this gun nuts do not speak for the majority of Virginians. Here are article highlights:
The rally is being hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a prominent Second Amendment group that typically holds an annual “Lobby Day” to meet with lawmakers. The group is organizing charter buses, car pools and a sushi dinner the night before the rally in anticipation of what it is calling “the most important Lobby Day Rally that we have ever had.”[T]he rally has drawn the attention of militia groups from as far away as Nevada and Oklahoma, including those [hate groups] tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
Others vowing to attend include individuals associated with the Light Foot Militia, some of whom were banned from Charlottesville after the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, which ended in the death of a counterprotester. Richard B. Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who is among 24 defendants in a lawsuit over the rally in Charlottesville, also said he might attend.
Experts on extremism believe the groups want to co-opt the rally in an effort to fuel a race war. For example, extremists are calling Monday’s rally the “boogaloo,” which in the language of white supremacists is an event that will accelerate such a war.
It remains unclear who will actually arrive in Richmond, but it’s possible pre-emptive moves by the authorities could deter some who had vowed to attend.
The authorities on Thursday announced the arrests of three men linked to the Base, an extremist group being tracked by the F.B.I. The three men had obtained weapons and discussed participating in the Richmond rally and were charged with various federal crimes in Maryland, the authorities said.
On Friday, law enforcement announced the arrest of at least four other men also tied to the Base, in separate plots.
The Base is a white extremist, antigovernment group that aims to establish a white “ethno-state.”
The F.B.I. has grown increasingly concerned about the Base as it has worked to recruit more people. The group encourages the onset of anarchy, according to the Counter Extremism Project, an organization that tracks far-right extremists. Experts say that its founder, an American, appears to be living in Russia.
Former law enforcement officials say the Base and a similar group known as Atomwaffen have become priorities for the F.B.I.
In November, the F.B.I. arrested Richard Tobin, a young man in New Jersey, who was accused of recruiting on behalf of the Base and of supporting violence, including the killing of black people with a machete.
In his declaration, Mr. Northam cited the eruption in Charlottesville three years ago as an example of “what can happen when peaceful demonstrations are hijacked by those who come into the Commonwealth and do not value the importance of peaceful assembly.” He added: “We must take all precautions to prevent that from ever happening again.”