GSL Member E.S. shared details of his remarkable trip to Richmond, Virginia with Guns Save Life members in several cities in February. He participated along with tens of thousands of other gun owners protesting efforts by radical gun grabbers to curtail Virginians’ civil rights involving guns.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League had its annual Lobby Day on January 20th – an event similar to what we have in Illinois with our IGOLD event.
However, the VCDL had asked everyone to leave their long guns at home for the event in order to appear “reasonable” for lobbying. However, a lot of folks had a different opinion.
“Reasonable hasn’t worked well in the past,” he said, noting that many felt they had little to lose by looking more militant. Especially as Virginia’s governor ratcheted up threatening and intimidating rhetoric.
So these more militant gun owners organized their own “Rattlesnake Rally” as a “show of force.” They planned to march in an organized fashion similar to an infantry rifle company all the while obeying Virginia’s state laws on guns.
The participants included a lot of current and former military planned and prepared in an almost military-like manner. They hoped for the best and planned for the worst. They even all brought gas masks. “We fully expected that they would deploy tear gas against us, and we were ready for that,” he said.
At the same time, he say plenty of lighter moments including one guy passing out crayons as snacks to the Marines present in their group.
As the sun began to rise, they stepped off and marched in formation for the mile or so to the capital building. Only one cop challenged them, ordering them to unload their rifles. One of the Rattlesnake leaders politely told the officer that the law does not require that and to stand down. The cop backed down and that was the only even marginally negative experience he saw.
By and large, once the tense cops saw that hundreds of armored, rifle-wielding patriots weren’t there to cause trouble, they relaxed. Obviously, most cops aren’t used to being outnumbered by more heavily armed people, so they had their own concerns. However, by the end of the rally, everyone including the cops were having a great time.
Of course, the press swarmed the heavily armed, organized group. The media hacks demanded all manner of information and when that didn’t work, tried to provoke the men and women within the Rattlesnake column. E.S. said one persisted with him, so he told the reporter, “I’m from the Internet and I’m here to help.”
E.S. noted how he didn’t see any racists or white supremacists, but he did see thousands of very polite, very friendly people of all sorts. Blacks, whites, gays, immigrants… everyone turned out – even Antifa marched sans masks alongside everyone else in support of gun rights for all.
A whole lot of younger kids enjoyed seeing the Rattlesnake guys and were drawn to the cool gear and the neat guns. In fact, by the time the rally concluded, even the cops looked longingly at the Rattlesnake participants, coveting some of the gear. “You’ve got better stuff that we do,” E.S. said some of the Virginia State Police told them.
By the conclusion of the rally, everyone was euphoric at the positive outcome. Nobody got arrested or killed, much to everyone’s relief.
The next morning, E.S. said he went down to the hotel lobby to get some coffee, he saw his picture on the cover of USA Today. He recalled how he did a double take seeing the photo.
Not only did the rally go well for attendees, but hundreds, if not a couple of thousand returned home energized and ready to bring civil rights activism (involving gun rights) to a whole new level in their home states. The friendships made and camaraderie will help them with a whole network of people nationwide to help in this advocacy.
Additionally, E.S. urged everyone to get the gear they need to be citizen soldiers. That means a rifle that’s sighted in, a sling, spare mags and ammo, and the knowledge of how to use it effectively.
He closed by saying that civil rights movements are not won by submissive people acting meek and mild. “They are won by making noise,” he said.
“I echo what Dale Lock wrote this month in GunNews… I was never prouder to be an American,” he said of his trip to Virginia.