Video showed BLM757, BLMRVA, and the Fred Hampton Gun Club participating in the rally on Monday, armed with rifles in the gun-free zone of the State Capitol.
Police did not enforce the gun-free zone. However, the group complied when police told the armed activists to move back toward a sidewalk because they did not have a protest permit.
According to independent journalist and documentarian Ford Fischer, the group was advocating for reparations as well as the passage of HR40, a congressional bill to study the subject.
Monday was an annual day of advocacy and the demonstration was alongside gun control and gun-rights advocates in the Virginia Capitol. Each year, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, citizens meet with their legislators during what’s informally known as lobby day.
The 2023 legislative session began last Wednesday and concludes in late February.
According to Capitol police, there were approximately 150 to 200 demonstrators at the event.
A local CBS affiliate reported that some state Republicans and gun-rights advocates are working to roll back gun control measures enacted when Democrats were in full control of Virginia's government. Democrats have proposed bills they say will improve safety in response to recent mass shooting events, including gun-storage measures and various limits on firearms.
Passage of major legislation in either direction is unlikely as Republicans control the House of Delegates and Democrats lead the Senate in the state governed by Republican Glenn Youngkin.
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