The capital city of Virginia is bracing for thousands of gun rights activists today as they protest the state Democrats' plans to pass gun control legislation.
Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency days ahead of Monday's rally, banning all weapons from the event.
Northam and Democrat lawmakers are taking steps to restrict gun ownership after the shootings in Virginia Beach's municipal building last March. "These laws are intended to keep Virginians safe, period," he said. "It is time to act."
But gun-rights supporters quickly pushed back against Democratic bills, moving more than 125 of the state's cities and counties to call themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.
One measure in the town of Woodstock, VA, states, "Public funds of the county shall not be used to aid in the unnecessary or unconstitutional restriction of the rights under the Second Amendment."
Del. Todd Gilbert, Virginia House Republican leader, said, "The notion that you can legislate away evil and bad things in this world is folly, and the only thing that stops evil is somebody prepared to stop it."
Much of the opposition has focused on a proposed assault weapons ban.
Second Amendment groups are focused on Virginia as a rallying point for the fight against what they see as a national erosion of gun rights.
At a recent county meeting about gun rights in the Shenandoah Valley, resident Jean Martin expressed the concern that many gun owners are feeling. "Gun legislation is nothing more than a feel-good politically motivated measure that won't fix the root causes of gun violence," Martin said.