Power demonstration of supporters of the right to own weapons in Richmond, Virginia

The crowd of supporters of the right to own arms gathered in front of the Virginia Capitol on January 20.
The crowd of supporters of the right to own arms gathered in front of the Virginia Capitol on January 20. CHIP SOMODEVILLA / AFP

Some simply carry their assault rifle over their shoulder or a handgun on their belt. More impressive, often coming to demonstrate in groups, others parade in camouflage, several weapons in evidence, magazines carefully stored in the khaki vests provided for this purpose. An unusual show of force on the peaceful streets of Richmond, the capital of Virginia, where several thousand supporters of the right to possess weapons met on Monday, January 20.

All display the same determination: to defend the second amendment to the American Constitution, which guarantees them the right to carry a weapon and which they consider threatened by the texts debated by the new democratic majority of the State of Virginia. And all share the same ideology, typical of rural regions of the country: “Let the government not interfere in our affairs. "

In anticipation of this particularly politicized rally in the middle of the election year, the Democratic Governor had declared a state of emergency and a ban on carrying weapons near the Capitol. Fearing that the violence that had grieved a demonstration by the extreme right in Charlottesville in August 2017 would be repeated, three supremacist militants were arrested on Thursday. This time, the demonstrators dispersed smoothly, under the control of a substantial security device, but not without promising to continue their fight " until the end ".

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"A right given by God"

Rex McClure, who arrived the day before Tennesse, is one of them. Rifle on the shoulder, ammunition and GoPro fixed on the belly, the fifties considers no compromise. " It is our duty to speak out against a tyrannical government which wants to take away from us a right given by God ". " And guaranteed the Constitution Added his friend Joe Wright, who came from neighboring Maryland. " Since the War of Independence, it has been the right to bear arms that has made America great. Even bad people are entitled to it: in any case, “bad guys” don't make old bones ”, explains this proud owner of " over 50 firearms ".

Contrary to what the demonstrators claim, the restrictive texts envisaged by the new democratic majority do not plan to reverse the right to carry a weapon. Like most American states, Virginia has allowed concealed weapons (under clothing or in a nearby bag) since 1995.


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