‘The Second Amendment is a God-given right’: Thousands from across US make their voices heard in Richmond

Officials: 22,000 people attend Gun Rights Rally; 6,000 inside Capitol Square

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Capitol Police estimate about 22,000 people were downtown Monday for the Gun Rights Rally. From drums to chants, more than 6,000 people filled Capitol Square all wanting to make their voices heard.

Thousands of people first had to go through security.

“I left my weapon at home today just so I could be here for the rally,” one man from Fredricksburg said.

The man boarded one of three packed buses from Fredricksburg to attend the rally. Like the others inside the fence, he had to leave his gun on the outside.

“Whichever way Virginia goes could have a rippling effect throughout the country, so we have to get this right,” the man said.

Armed protesters take to the street

From the inside of Capitol Square, you got a good look at those on the outside.

Handguns, rifles and everything in between were on full display just outside the secure perimeter around the Virginia statehouse.

“The government here in Virginia is doing something I think is unconstitutional,” Al Rose of South Port North Carolina said.

Phillip Williams of Alabama said he’s followed the gun rights battle now unfolding in the Commonwealth.

“The Second Amendment is a God-given right. It’s not something that a governor or president is going to give or take away from us,” Williams said.

The rally remained peaceful throughout the day with only one arrest being made. Richmond police arrested a 21-year-old woman for wearing a mask in public. Police said they warned her several times to adjust it.

Governor Northam released a statement on today’s event.

Read below:

We are all thankful that today passed without incident. The teams successfully de-escalated what could have been a volatile situation. This resulted from weeks of planning and extensive cooperation among state, local, and federal partners in Virginia and beyond.

Virginia’s law enforcement and first responders demonstrated tremendous professionalism. I’m proud of their work. I have spoken with Colonel Settle of the State Police, Colonel Pike of the Capitol Police, and Chief Smith of the Richmond Police Department, as well as leaders of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office, and thanked them for keeping Virginia safe.

Thousands of people came to Richmond to make their voices heard. Today showed that when people disagree, they can do so peacefully. The issues before us evoke strong emotions, and progress is often difficult. I will continue to listen to the voices of Virginians, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep our Commonwealth safe.

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