About 22,000 pro-gun activists gathered to rally for Second Amendment rights in Richmond, Virginia on January 20. The protest was in response to the state Democrats’ plan to pass gun control regulations. The large protest went off peacefully without any violence. Only one arrest was made, of a woman wearing a bandanna over her face and refusing to remove it after being asked twice by peace officers. The violation was one felony count of wearing a mask in public.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, was targeted by protesters’ chants of “Northam out.” Yet after the rally, he expressed his appreciation that the day passed without any violence.
“Thousands of people came to Richmond to make their voices heard. Today showed that when people disagree, they can do so peacefully,” Northam said in a statement. “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.”
Protesters inside the official rally area numbered about 6,000 and were required to be unarmed. Additional protesters gathered outside the main rally. These numbered about 16,000 and were able to carry firearms. Police force was heavy both on the ground and on nearby rooftops.
In an unexpected twist, rally participants picked up all the trash left by the assembled crowd and left the area better than they found it.