Upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin stated, “Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” On Monday, January 20th, an armed gun rights rally took place in Richmond, VA. Bearing the slogan “Virginia is for Fighters!”, this is an important step for our nation. It’s a bold statement that says, “We will not stand idly by any longer and watch our rights erode into nothing”. I’ve touched briefly on this topic in several essays prior, but I think it is important to consider several things. What happened? How did we get here? And what does this mean for the future? In this issue of Essay Wednesday we yell, “Vive la révolution!”
What started as a gun rights rally of two thousand in the nation’s capitol last November has grown into a nationwide movement. Most recently, this movement produced a rally over twenty thousand strong in Virginia’s capitol of Richmond. Sacramento, C.A. announces a similar rally head of the one in Virginia. A solidarity rally is announced in Michigan, in support those in California and Virginia. Washington state then threw their hat in the ring and announced a rally on January 18th. Reports indicate 600-800 people attended; about half in attendance carry arms. Their goal was also to dissuade lawmakers from passing extensive gun control bills.
State of Emergency ahead of Gun Rights Rally
A few days before the Virginia gun rights rally, Governor “Blackface” Northam announces a state of emergency, citing “credible threats” of violence. This state of emergency makes it illegal to carry a weapon or wear a mask at the capitol. A fence goes up around the area where protesters are to meet.
Some politicians call out the Governor, claiming his declaration is illegal, and most of the crowd arrives with firearms anyway. The caged area had one entrance and three exits, guarded by police. New cameras and sniper emplacements are also in place. Much like the Washington Rally, several politicians voiced their concerns and views in favor of the protesters and how completely unconstitutional these lawmakers were handling the situation.
The Gun Rights Rally
At least one arrest is reported for a ‘mask violation’, but considering the sheer number of people in attendance (estimates vary between 22K and 100K) it’s fair to say the entire 2A rally is free of any major issues. Many people live stream the event, and aerial photos show the capitol and surrounding streets filled with protesters (mostly armed). Attendees come from all walks of life: gay, straight, trans, all colors, antifa, ancaps. Some law enforcement showed up to protest the anti-gun laws. There were even people grilling and handing out hot dogs!
There was one report of a possible instigator who tried to get others to act out in a violent manner. Cooler heads prevailed. A novelty guillotine with the words “the penalty for treason is death” burned into the wood makes an appearance. As thing wrap up, a protesters stay behind to help clean the area before leaving. Despite the lack of violence and friendly demeanor of the crowd, prominent voices on the left called rally goers ‘white supremacists’ who were suppressing others’ freedom of speech.
Dave Smith brings up a good point in how “Occupy Wall Street” protesters are sprayed with pepper spray, whereas Richmond protestors are generally free to carry on. Seem there’s a difference between policing unarmed hippies and a well-armed, organized group.
How Did We Get Here?
As Virginia turns blue following the last election, Governor Northam, proposes a number of unconstitutional bills. Among these are proposals to:
- Ban ‘assault weapons’ [Virginia HB961 (formerly HB16)]
- Throttle the number of legal firearm purchases one can make [Virginia SB69]
- Criminalize the use of firearms as part of a protest [Virginia SB64]
- Make illegal the training others on how to use firearms in certain circumstances [Virginia SB64]
- Make illegal many private sales of firearms [Virginia HB2]
- Allow ‘Red Flag’ firearm seizures [Virginia SB240]
- Terminate Law Enforcement officers who strike (presumably to protest against enforcing these laws) are make them ineligible for future public employment [Virginia HB67]
- Ban privately owned gun ranges [Virginia HB567]
The majority of these proposals are nonsensical. Making it illegal to train people? Ban shooting ranges that aren’t operated by the government? They expect the people of Virginia to slap a revolver in someone’s hands who is of age and expect them to know exactly what to do with it. If you’re a gun owner or have any sense at all you’d know that is extremely dangerous (and maybe that was the point). Maybe they wanted to make the bogeyman gun owner even scarier in order to take all guns in general. We will never know because when that these laws were announced, the people lost their minds.
Social Media Is a Tool
Hundreds, maybe thousands of people, started organizing in anticipation of the Richmond gun rights rally. Notably, social media personality @trijiconfucius (currently @trijiconch after several account deletions) took this as a challenge and started a patriotic crusade. Trij went from county to county pleading his case to establish “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” across Virginia. For every meeting of supervisors he attended, his following grew. And not just in Virginia – the whole country was watching the movement. To help spread his message, several podcasts such as the “E-Militia”, “Friends Against Government”, “Biting the Bullet”, and “Statist Quo” invited him on to discuss the matters at hand.
Ignore at Your Peril
The Virginia state government has been very public about sticking their nose up to the very thought of their subjects disobeying them. Senator David Marsden tells another Senator, “These people are like children, you just have to ignore them,” on a hot mic during a public meeting.
Wanting to protect my rights is crazy? I am a child because I won’t bend a knee and kiss the ring of some State Senator? Politicians also went as far as to say the people have no legal grounds to pass these sanctuaries because State law supersedes County law. These are the people who wonder why memes about tarring and feathering are back in style. County 2A sanctuaries don’t pass as a realistic legal umbrella to shield citizens from punishment. They pass to send the message — in my opinion a clear one — that “We the people are done with your oppression.”
Where Are We Going?
“The tighter your grip, the more systems will fall to the Rebels,” quote said to Darth Vader. Five died and six were injured at the Boston massacre, and that started a revolution. Between the unarmed 2A rally in D.C. and the armed gun rights rally in Virginia, it can be argued civil unrest has already begun.
There is a similar movement to Virginia’s happening in Kentucky. On the tails of proposed gun control measures, only a small handful of counties haven’t declared themselves sanctuaries yet. When asked about the movement, one activist tells me she’s fairly confident the Kentucky anti-2A bills are dead in the water, and that they had little momentum to begin with. She also believes that a majority of the counties will pass the sanctuary proposal and after they take a majority of the counties, she, and the rest of the Kentucky movement will make their way to the capital to plead for a state wide sanctuary.
Florida also manages to get a foothold in their state, with several sanctuary counties appearing after being threatened with unlawful bills. Unfortunately, other states aren’t having such luck.
Although there are movements starting in other states, the focus is not on them. They are struggling to rally people to make a stand. Indiana activists were aiding Kentucky in their movement, but had to stop when their home state betrayed them and proposed worse bills than Kentucky.
On the social media front, politigram @libertarianrenegade is helping people connect by linking people up in snapchat groups organized by state so that they can communicate with the people around them. This is how the “Wolverbeans” podcast started.
Proof of Concept…
Not everyone can be as lucky as the lads and I @flintlocks4freedom. We just all happened to be working in the same place. Virginia proves a few things:
- There will always be skeptics and naysayers. This isn’t just about proving a point to politicians. This is about showing the people how strong they can be when they band together.
- People grow tired with subservience; all it takes is a spark of hope to do something about it.
- Through organization, we can do anything. All you have to do is look for it.
There are Telegram groups, Snapchat groups, Facebook groups, and more. Hit someone up and find them or do what I did; talk to people around you the old fashion way. They might surprise you.
In the new Star Wars, Poe says, “They win by making you feel alone, but you’re not alone. There’s more of us than them.” We see this in Virginia, and I think we will see it across the country. We the people tire of being kicked around by elitist snobs who think we should bow to them because they’re holding the pen and paper.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but who empowers the pen? Without a second amendment, there is no first. Some express disappointment with how rally goers behaved. They claim they would rather have seen violence or direct action by force. I believe it was a courageous and necessary first step towards change.
…Is Not Proof of Outcome
So far, the gun rights rally will have seemingly no impact on law makers. The Virginia senate has passed multiple unconstitutional laws including the infamous “Red Flag Law.” These are awaiting signature by the Governor. The same law makers are now attempting to pass a law that will shield the governor, judges, and many other elected officials from online criticism. Those who would “use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act” towards Gov. Northam or other elected officials would be guilty of a crime [Virginia HB1627].
We as a movement have shown restraint. That we can be reasonable. But it’s had no effect on the political field, and — despite the diversity of the movement — are branded “white supremacists” and “extremists”.
We played by their rules and were met with with a slap in the face. Many are thinking it’s time that we make the politicians play by our rules instead. Only time will tell.