“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here — this is the War Room!”
–Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964
“Citizens, you can’t carry legal firearms here — this is a Second Amendment rally!”
-Commonwealth of Virginia, 2020
The laugh-out-loud absurdity of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is now the cry-out-loud reality of Democrat-held Virginia.
Just days before a planned gun-rights protest in the state capitol, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam plans to declare an emergency later today banning all weapons, including firearms, from the Capitol Square. According to NBC4 in Washington, officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the governor is concerned about “credible threats of potential violence and extremism.” However, the ominous-sounding report has the unnamed official admitting that “the state does not have intelligence that the groups are planning a specific act of violence.” Still, “Northam has grown increasingly concerned about numerous ominous-sounding postings on social media from forces outside Virginia.”
Cam Edwards at our sister site Bearing Arms writes that “buried at the bottom of a laundry list of rules for the House,” is the new Rule 85. It reads in part:
The House Committee on Rules will establish, by majority vote, a formal policy on the ability of members, staff, guests, and visitors to bring firearms into the those [sic] areas under the legal authority of the House of Delegates including, but not limited to, the Capitol, the House Chamber, and the Pocahontas Building. The Committee may amend the policy, which may or may not include a blanket prohibition, from time to time as appropriate. Copies of the approved policy and any changes or amendments thereof will be provided to every member, full and part-time employee, page, and intern of the Virginia House of Delegates and be posted for the members of the public.
But Edwards — who will speak at Monday’s rally — also notes that the “House of Delegates doesn’t control the entire state capitol complex, only the House itself, along with House office spaces,” and that the Senate has issued no such new rule. That might explain Northam’s plan to declare a state of emergency in order to assume wider powers and effectively shut down any carrying of firearms to a peaceful firearms protest.
The irony, it drips.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League is sponsoring the event, and they seem committed to following the letter of the law. Their instructions to protestors include the following:
CARRY: As of this moment, carry is prohibited inside the General Assembly (GA) Building and the Capitol. For this reason we suggest that if you intend to go inside to lobby you should leave your firearm at home, in your hotel room, or out-of-sight in your locked vehicle. DO NOT LEAVE AN UNSECURED GUN IN AN UNLOCKED CAR! There have been multiple firearms stolen out of vehicles lately. DO NOT HANDLE A LOADED FIREARM. VCDL’s firearm safety policy at all VCDL-sponsored meetings, events, or gatherings has always been that loaded firearms shall NOT be handled; they will remain holstered or otherwise secured at all times. Don’t ask someone to hold your gun while you go in the building. We suggest that if you are lobbying and come unarmed that you travel in groups with a DD…Designated Defender. This person volunteers to stay outside while the others go in and make our voices heard. As an alternative, you can use a fanny pack type holster which can be taken off and handed to your companion for safe keeping while you go into the building. AGAIN, DO NOT TAKE THE FIREARM OUT OF ITS HOLSTER.
This does not sound to me like the work of anyone trying to incite a violent mob. In fact, the instructions also ask members to “Be patient with the Capitol Police on the screenings,” because “It was not their idea, but Democrat leadership’s idea.” Clearly, the VCDL is doing everything in its power to avoid making a scene, which is perfectly in line with their stated mission to advance “the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.”
Might a few spoilers show up and try to ruin the event and besmirch — or worse — law-abiding gun-owners? Anything is possible, and if Northam had a lick of gun sense, he’d wouldn’t even consider making Capitol Square into a soft target.
But the Virginia government is in the grip of the most uniformly anti-gun madness since the Brits tried raiding a colonial armory at Concord, Massachusetts. Patriots won the day violently in 1775, and may they win peacefully in Virginia in 2020.