Rally in Richmond Huge, armed & peaceful

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By Eric Noevere

Contrary to the media warning of violence at the Jan. 20 pro Second Amendment Rally in Virginia, it turned out to be a peaceful celebration of the freedom to keep and bear arms, protest peaceably, and freedom of speech. I had the great pleasure of attending. I met many very nice people and in spite of the mid 20’s temperatures and biting north wind, they were in a very good and positive mood.

I got up at 02:45 am and drove to the Virginia Civil Defense League’s satellite parking area at the “Diamond,” a sports arena. This is 2.9 miles from the Capital. There was shuttle bus service which I decided to use. It turned out to be an almost two-hour wait. The line was over a quarter mile long. Officially the Lobby Day attendance was about 22,000.

Finally I got downtown about 11:15 then walked from the shuttle drop off point to some streets that bordered the closed off area around the Capital. There was one gate where people who wished to enter the Capital and grounds could enter. Governor (blackface) Northam had declared a State of Emergency via Executive Order. Gun Owners of America(GOA), challenged this in Court. Unfortunately they lost. Apparently metal detectors were set up at this single gate. Obviously the Governor did not want to make this easy! There was an equally long line at the end of the rally for the shuttle and I walked back to my truck.


The crowd was racially mixed. The white and black folks I spoke to, all shared the belief that the Second Amendment is a basic right to be enjoyed by all. About a third of the crowd outside the Capital were openly carrying handguns or rifles. Obviously, no idea how many concealed carriers there were. Even though I walked around the North, East and Southern perimeters of the event there was no sign of counter demonstrators. The League had handed out orange “Guns Save Lives” stickers. Most of the crowd had these on. I saw a couple of people carrying signs saying “Democrats for the NRA.” They were laughing and interacting with the rest of the crowd. Obviously they weren’t mistreated.

I could see the area in front of the Capital where the speakers were and the crowds were very enthusiastic. One impromptu speaker was Antonia Okafor of Gun Owner’s of America (she is black) and I saw her interviewed on Fox News the next morning. She is the new Spokesperson of GOA and she was very grateful for the opportunity to speak to the crowd. GOA appears to be the new tip of the spear in the gun rights movement. The NRA appears to be rapidly fading into the background.

Doing some research I found the Oath Keepers(OK) organization planned to be present. Their intention was to help preserve order in case of trouble. They are usually covert. I did meet some nice young men who although not visibly armed, were wearing military gear and had radios on, wonder what they were doing? This group is usually described by the media as anti-government, far right, a militia. They helped protect property legally during the Ferguson, Missouri riots a few years ago. They are mostly made up of active duty/retired military law enforcement and first responders. They swear not to enforce unconstitutional orders. Stewart Rhodes the founder of OK, himself a vet, had an idea; what would have happened in Germany if the military and police had refused to carry out Hitler’s orders? Maybe not so extreme at least in my “deplorable” world view.

The media presented that the Lobby Day event would be attended by out of out of state extremists, armed militias, and violence was very likely. This is the new track of the Democrats and their media lap dogs. People who are patriots, believe in the Constitution, would fight to defend it, are wild eyed, crazy, racists, lawless etc.

Remember Hilary Clinton’s comments about “deplorables?” This is dehumanizing the enemy, guess what comes next in the playbooks of Hitler, Stalin, Mao etc.?

I had a feeling that if I attended, the biggest threat to my safety would be the drive. I was right — although the drive also turned out fine.

Editor’s note: Mr. Noevere is a firearms expert and a regulator contributor to this newspaper.