Gallery: Gun rights rally in Richmond

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Crowd outside the Virginia State Capitol around 9:30 a.m. ahead of an 11 a.m. gun rights rally. Jan. 20, 2020 (WAVY/Andy Fox)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Tens of thousands of gun-rights activists from around the country rallied peacefully at the Virginia Capitol on Monday to protest plans by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation — a move that has become a key flash point in the national debate over gun violence

Gov. Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency days ahead of the rally, banning all weapons, including guns, from the event on Capitol Square.

The size of the crowd and the expected participation of white supremacists and fringe militia groups raised fears that the state could see a repeat of the violence that exploded in 2017 in Charlottesville. But the rally concluded uneventfully around noon, and the mood was largely festive, with rally-goers chanting “USA!” and waving signs denouncing Gov. Northam.

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