Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Virginia, Jan. 20, 2020. (TAC/Ioannis Vlahos)
Today, the Commonwealth of Virginia, home to four of our very first presidents—framers and founders who shaped the nation we are today—triumphantly reaffirmed its place as a leader-state.
Delegate William Wampler’s office confirmed to me that at least 25-30,000 Second Amendment supporters surrounded the state capitol on Monday. This had to be the largest gun rights rally ever, entirely surpassing the 10,000 people that the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) was anticipating in front of the Capitol, while VCDL lobbied legislators inside the building.
This was “lobby day”—a longstanding tradition—after all.
Meanwhile, media estimates ranged from 22,000, or more. Every street, alley and byway circling the state temple seemed to be packed with gun-owning, and gun-bearing citizens, and those who support them.
The Northam administration strove and schemed to diminish and to denigrate the event from the start. The media heartily complied. Police were ordered to partition the streets and Capitol lawn into a warren of chokepoints and cul-de-sacs, channeling people into segmented, dead-end venues cut off from each other, while access to the lawn before the Capitol building was rationed to create a less-than-impressive camera-eye: A vista of modest protest alone.
Well, take a look at this vista, captured by my son at the climax of the event:
Likewise, the Northam Government sought to throw serious shade on gun owners expressing open-carry rights, snapshotting them as surly, swaggering bullies, cowing innocents as they brandished the deadliest weapons. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Despite being packed into narrow streets like sardines for harvest, every single armed citizen I met and squeezed by was unfailingly good-natured and courteous. It was quite astonishing to encounter so many slung ARs borne with such rare grace. There were no arrests (except that woman violating the temporary anti-mask statute), no fighting, no confrontations. For real, Virginia Gentlemen.
At one point, a frustrated Northam regime factotum put out the word to cops to pull the mic from State Senator Amanda Chase as she addressed the rapt crowd. The police, to their credit, failed to fulfill this directive.
The genuine comity between law enforcement and citizenry was noteworthy. I saw women thanking officers as they left the event, to grateful replies. Most poignant, perhaps, was the table set in the very midst of the throng, manned by county sheriffs, united to stand with the Second Amendment. There, in effect, was an unending receiving line of citizens eager to shake their hands.
There were so many women. Of course the Establishment Media spurned them all, insisting on interviewing only “representative” men with beards (and preferably, missing a tooth or two). Yet the women spoke a passionate commitment.
Like Daphne from Virginia Beach, who had arrived by 7 a.m., with media in full parade review, and not one outlet would speak to her. Yet she was excited to find she wasn’t alone, with many women there with her in force.
She offered a wrenching reminder of what is at stake here. A witness to the May 31 mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal center, she said, testified at a recent Virginia Beach City Council meeting (it was attended by 2,000 people she said; the city voted to become a 2A sanctuary on Jan. 7). The man told the audience how he lies awake at night: “At three distinct moments, if I had had a weapon, I could have stopped it.”
Then there was Lisa, with frost-white hair, from West Virginia. She had driven nine and a half hours, overnight to get to the rally. “Because it’s important. Because it’s our Constitution.” She added, “And we have peace even though we are among arms — people don’t expect that.”
And there was Sarah, from Alexandria, who appeared tireless, working for the Virginia Citizens Defense League. VCDL was the force behind this rally. In contrast to an ineffectual NRA, VCDL has somehow pulled off one of the greatest convocations—for defending the Constitution—in recent memory.
From a purely political standpoint, the rally was fated to be a test of wills. Victorious in November, and owning all three branches of state government, the Democrat regime in Richmond sought to force an aggressive anti-gun agenda on a polity publicly committed, at least since the 1770s, to gun rights. In prompt response, before the Blue-dominated legislature even sat down to a new session, 94 percent of Virginia counties and townships had declared themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”
Hence, the rally today was less relevant as a traditional “lobby day”—and more pointedly a contest over which side in the Commonwealth could seize the narrative moving forward. Northam and the Blue-run Media were out to paint gun owners as violent, desperate relics of a bygone era, while Red county Virginia was collectively united to present its armed citizenry as civilized upholders of the civic order.
For those who were there, there was no doubt which side came out ahead. Mainstream Media, in contrast, will labor mightily to skew reality in their favor. But the feed tells the real story.
The armed citizenry showed its strength for sure, and its capacity to quickly mobilize, while at the same time presenting a collective goodwill and forbearance that gives the lie to any accusations from the Left.
This just might be the political legacy of the rally.
Michael Vlahos is a writer and author of the book Fighting Identity: Sacred War and World Change. He has taught war and strategy at Johns Hopkins University and the Naval War College and is a weekly contributor to The John Batchelor Show. Follow him on Twitter @JHUWorldCrisis