RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Tens of thousands of Virginia residents are expected to visit Richmond Monday to petition their lawmakers during Lobby Day.
A gun-rights rally hosted by the Virginia Citizens of Defense League is set to take place during Lobby Day at Capitol Square.
Violence is feared during Monday’s gun rights rally after Charlottesville’s Unite the Right Rally in 2017 left three people dead and multiple injured.
Law enforcement agencies are taking the necessary precautions to keep people safe. Security will be tight, guards will be inside and outside of Capitol Square. Everyone must go through magnetometers and be prepared to have thier bags searched.
On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order declaring a temporary state of emergency that will prohibit all weapons from Capitol Square until Jan. 21 at 5 p.m.
Northam cited “credible threats” of violence linked to the rally. Northam said the threats came from all over, including ‘militia groups’ from across the country.
A day after Northam announced the state of emergency, the Virginia Senate passed three gun safety measures that would require background checks on all firearm sales, limit gun purchases to one in a 30-day period and allow localities to ban guns from public buildings, parks and events.
The FBI helped police arrest six men linked to a violent white supremacist group known as “The Base.” At least three of them were in possession of several firearms with thousands of rounds of ammunition and reportedly had discussions of traveling to Richmond for Monday’s gun rights rally.
House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) expressed his concern over possible violence on Lobby Day, Saturday morning.
The top VA Republican said that any group that comes to Richmond to “spread white supremacist garbage, or any other form of hate, violence, or civil unrest isn’t welcome here.”
In midst of ‘serious threats of violence,’ Moms Demand Action, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Virginia Center for Public Safety have canceled their planned events for Lobby Day.
Drivers in Richmond should expect heavy traffic and detours on Lobby Day. Some roads, including a big portion of 9th Street, will be closed along most blocks around Capitol Square.
Police are closing several roads in downtown Richmond from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to allow dozens of buses to pick up and drop off people attending Lobby Day.
The following streets will be closed:
- 9th Street from Cary Street to Marshall Street
- Main Street from 9th Street to 14th Street will be closed.
The road closures will affect several GRTC bus routes, including the Pulse.
Lobby Day at the Capitol: Everything you need to know about street closures, parking and bus route detours
All pedestrians must enter through the entrance at North 9th St & E Grace St.
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