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VA – GUN CONTROL – Prospect of gun control in Virginia draws threats, promise of armed protest

Gun rights advocates and militia members from across the country are urging thousands of armed protesters to descend on Virginia’s capital later this month to stop newly empowered Democrats from passing gun-control bills. What began as several rural Virginia counties declaring themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” has jumped the state’s borders and become an Internet phenomenon. Far-right websites and commenters are declaring that Virginia is the place to take a stand against what they see as a national trend of weakening gun rights. Unlike blue bastions such as California and New York, Virginia is a former Confederate state with strong rural traditions and lax gun laws. Guns represent the strongest, reddest line against the demographic changes that have seen Old Dominion voters usher in a new era of Democratic leadership in recent elections. And so a Nevada-based group called the Oath Keepers said it’s sending training teams to help form posses and militia in Virginia. The leader of a Georgia militia called Three Percent Security Force has posted videos and calls to arms on Facebook, urging “patriots” to converge on Richmond. The right-wing YouTube “American Joe Show” warned without evidence that Virginia will cut the power grid to stop the army of protesters – one of a host of false and exaggerated rumors spreading online. The Virginia Citizens Defense League, the grass-roots organization planning the rally, said it has told the state to prepare for as many as 50,000 or even 100,000 people showing up. Police do not dismiss those projections. But at least so far, they have not seen indications that turnout will be that high.  [full article]

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