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An area resident is handed a ‘Guns Save Lives’ sticker upon arriving for Saturday’s Second Amendment rally in Culpeper’s Yowell Meadow Park on Jan. 18.

Culpeper, and much of the rest of the Commonwealth, has been in an uproar over recent, and mostly successful, efforts to declare “Second Amendment sanctuaries” or “Constitutional” towns, cities and counties—thanks to the National Rifle Association, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, and Culpeper’s own Culpeper County 2A.

To what end? They have no legal standing.

Tomorrow is the traditional day for citizens to demonstrate and lobby the General Assembly, and a massive gun-rights rally is planned. The legislature has already banned firearms from the Capitol and legislative offices. Thankfully, we no longer see Senator Amanda Chase sporting her revolver on her hip in the elevators of the General Assembly building.

Still, the whining on the right is reaching a fever pitch, with our very own Del. Nick Freitas sounding more hysterical than anyone else. Really, do we need lawmakers armed to protect themselves and spectators from whomever? Isn’t that what the Capitol Police are for? What weapons will perpetrators bring into the building that go undiscovered by the new metal detectors? Snowballs? Even liquor stores ban weapons.

This past Wednesday, the Governor wisely declared a temporary state of emergency that, from this past Friday through Tuesday, will prohibit firearms, sticks, bats, chains and other weapons on Capitol Square and throughout the Capitol complex. There are reports of busloads of extremists coming from as far away as Texas.

Governor Northam cited alarming evidence that authorities had “received credible intelligence,” some gathered via “dark web channels used by white nationalists outside Virginia,” about groups with “malicious plans” such as “storming our Capitol” and “weaponizing drones” over Capitol Square.

“This includes out-of-state militias and hate groups from across the country,” Northam said. “They’re not coming to peacefully protest. They’re coming to intimidate and cause harm.”

The FBI arrested three men who are members of a neo-Nazi group known as The Base, which describes itself as an international network that is training its members to fight in a race war. Authorities believe they were planning to attend the rally, but it is unclear of what crimes the men are accused, as their federal charges have not yet been disclosed.

Culpeper County citizen Tristan Shields cogently summarized the situation:

“This whole 2A Civil War thing has been completely driven by misinformation and conspiracy theories. It is up to our leaders, local and state, from all political backgrounds, to provide clear facts about what is and is not being proposed. Yet I’m seeing quite a few elected officials—both local and state—throw fuel on the fire, re-enforcing this dangerous and false rhetoric. This has to stop. We all saw what happened in Charlottesville on 8-11-17. Please don’t let 1-20-20 be another tragedy.”

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Las Vegas, Virginia Beach—so many violent deaths. Last Monday, there was a gun scare at a middle school in Henrico County. Somalia and Yemen are possibly the only countries in the world that are more violent than the United States.

Where will it all end? Will anything meaningful be done to reduce gun violence? Not if Republican delegates, senators, sheriffs, supervisors and council members have anything to say about it. They are not the kind of people we need to help parents and teachers take care of our children. Remember that at the ballot box.

Mike McClary is a Vietnam combat veteran and a member of the Culpeper County Democratic Committee.

He is standing in for

David Reuther this week.

(1) comment

BILL LAWRENCE

Simple solution. Ban all democrats from owning weapons. Problem solved. Decent people WILL NOT BE DISARMED!! You can scream and screech and throw yourself on the floor and beat your little fists and kick your little feet and hold your breath until you turn blue. You will be ignored.

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