Second Amendment groups heading a planned protest and rally of potentially 130,000 supporters Monday in Richmond, Virginia, are warning members to be on the lookout for agitators “invited” by gun control advocates to stir up violence and discredit their effort.
In an alert sent by one of the groups leading the “lobbying day” effort, supporters were advised to look the other way should counterprotesters challenge them.
“If someone tries to provoke you, smile and walk away. There is probably someone secretly recording the interaction, with the intent of capturing some kind of inappropriate reaction on your part. Don’t take the bait. It’s not worth the bad press,” said the alert from the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which has conducted annual lobby day events peacefully since 2002.
On Wednesday, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam declared an emergency around the state capital for the Monday event, declaring that there “are considered credible threats” of violence, but he didn’t give details. As a result, guns are banned in the area, even by those who have legal concealed carry permits.
VCDL and others, however, said that they have heard of no threats, especially by gun owners, and suggested the governor was instigating leftist protesters. It is also eyeing a challenge to Northam’s temporary ban.
“The Democrats are afraid of the voters and want to portray this peaceful assembly of law-abiding gun owners in the worst possible way. They would love for it to degenerate to ‘violence, rioting, and insurrection’ in order to smear gun owners. Has the Democrat leadership actually invited violent groups to attend for the purpose of disrupting our peaceful assembly?” said the alert.
“The eyes of the nation and the world are on Virginia and VCDL right now and we must show them that gun owners are not the problem. Lead by example. We have been, and continue to be, in close contact with several law enforcement agencies and will keep them informed of all potential threats that we become aware of. Law enforcement will be in abundance at the event, both uniformed and plain clothes, to provide security and we are sincerely appreciative of their efforts to keep everyone as safe as possible,” it added.