RICHMOND, Virginia (NBC News) – An estimated 22,000 gun rights activists filled the streets of Richmond, Virginia Monday, urging state lawmakers to reject newly proposed gun control laws.
The activists were banned from carrying their weapons onto state house grounds out of fear of violence, but many protesters chose to remain armed and outside of the temporary barriers.
Virginia’s governor declared a state of emergency ahead of the rally, hoping to avoid a repeat of the deadly protests in Charlottesville in 2017.
The rally has drawn national attention on Virginia’s attempts to enact new gun regulations, pushed by Democrats who took control of the state government for the first time in 26 years.
Gun control supporters say they’re acting on voters’ wishes, motivated by last year’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
Gun rights activists claim that the measures will snowball into attempts to disarm the public.
The measures include universal background checks, a ban on military-style rifles and a bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others.
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