Following are my thoughts leading up to and including my experience at the Virginia Citizens Defense League Lobby Day/Rally.
I've been keeping an eye on what is going on in the Commonwealth of Virginia as I'm sure many of you have been. It is obvious that the citizens of Virginia are not going to sit back and let these legislators pass laws that strip their second amendment rights. The number of towns, cities, and counties that have embraced 2A sanctuary status seems to grow daily and is a testament to how the people feel. It does seem that the governor is becoming worried as evidenced by the state of emergency declaration and the ban on weapons form the capitol grounds on the days leading up to and including the VCDL lobby day/rally.
The VCDL has planned to lobby on MLK Day, as has been their custom for many years. They also have a rally with several speakers planned for the same day - another tradition of theirs. Violence is not what the VCDL advocates, in fact they are strongly discouraging any type of activity that could remotely resemble violence.
I plan to be in Richmond on the 20th. I'm looking forward to hearing the speakers the VCDL has scheduled. The news has reported the arrest of several individuals who were, reportedly, planning to attend and protest in a violent manner. I can't help but wonder if this ban on weapons won't end up causing a great deal of harm to the law-abiding, pro-gun citizens. I have no doubt that if there is any gunfire that it will be blamed on the VCDL group.
As I see it, if you are planning to attend the lobby day/rally, you need to make some well thought out choices even before you step out of your home. If you plan to lobby, you cannot carry. So after you finish speaking with your legislators do you remain unarmed and fenced in on the grounds? Or do you leave, collect your weapon and listen to the rally from outside the fence? If you do not plan to lobby but are interested in the rally, you also have to make a choice. Either go unarmed inside the fence or remain armed outside the fenced area. There are pros and cons to any decision you make - think them through completely and do what feels best for you and your situation. Personally, I tend to be a bit claustrophobic in very large, tight crowds so I'm leaning toward remaining outside the fenced area. This will allow me to be with other armed individuals and outside of a confined area. Situational awareness is going to be so very important especially since the crowd is predicted to be so large. While I want to listen closely to the speakers, I certainly don't want to have tunnel vision and ignore my surroundings.
Monday, January 20 has arrived. Well, we should have left for Richmond a lot earlier! I wasn't the driver, so that was not my decision to make. No need to complain!
After finding a parking spot, it was decided it would be easiest to walk as the lines for the shuttle buses were quite long. Along the way I noticed all different sorts of people heading toward the capitol. The media reported a group of mostly white males. Not the case - I saw several nationalities, whites and blacks.There were also many women present. There was also a very large police presence. I noticed several helicopters over the crowd and at least one drone. I never felt threatened. Several roads were blocked off with large vehicles - garbage trucks, I think. I believe this was meant to keep vehicles from being able to enter the crowd of people. A good safety measure in my opinion. The media pictures I saw all seemed to just show those who were carrying long guns and dressed in a military style. I did see people carrying AR's and AK's and some open carrying several smaller guns. However, I noticed many more that were either not carrying or were concealed carrying. It seemed that the media wanted to show those they thought would be causing problems.
Those not going onto the grounds were quite a distance away from the capitol steps where the rally was held. At times I was unable to hear the speakers. It was obvious, however, that the crowd inside and outside the fenced area was a peaceful group. I heard questions being asked and answered in calm voices. There were groups handing out various types of literature, but in a calm, non-threatening way. I even came across videos that showed the crowd picking up trash as they left the grounds and along the streets.
It was rumored that the government had gone into hiding and were not even in Richmond. I don't know about all of them but there were videos posted of at least four legislators who were out and talking to the crowds. I did read about one legislator who had gone into hiding due to death threats to his family. I have to imagine that those threats came from some outside organization or individual.
Although I wasn't able to hear and see as much as I would have liked, I'm glad I went. I think more people need to become involved in what goes on in government, whether it is on a local, state, or national level. My thought is if you don't try to do something about your beliefs, then you have no right to complain if things don't suit you.
Please remember, these are just my thoughts and observances.
East Coast Gal
Bravo Echo Out