The 2021 Lobby Day rally hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League is going to look a little different than it has in years past, with a massive mobile caravan planned to deliver a pro-2A message to state lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam.
As I explained in an an earlier post, the VCDL has been jerked around by the state in terms of getting a permit for their annual event, with gun control groups snagging the necessary permits required to hold rallies on the grounds of the state Capitol building before the VCDL ever had the opportunity to apply.
In an email alert to members, the VCDL laid out the attempts to derail this year’s Lobby Day rally.
VCDL was told years ago that an application to use the Bell Tower for an event more than six months out would not even be accepted. We have followed that rule, booked six months out, and gotten the 11 am slot for 17 years. This year, when we applied exactly six months out, we were told that the 11 am slot was already booked! In fact, every slot was filled except the 6 am and 6 pm slots.
How was that even possible? We had booked right at the six month mark.
We got a copy of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) document containing the applications that had been accepted by the Department of General Services (DGS) for Lobby Day on January 18, 2021. Lo and behold – the 11am slot had been requested by Andrew Goddard and Lori Haas with the Virginia Center For Public Safety (a gun-control group with ties to Michael Bloomberg). Here’s the kicker – DGS accepted the application, which had been filed OVER A YEAR IN ADVANCE (January 14, 2020)! That was even before the VCDL’s 2020 Lobby Day event!
If Lori Haas’s name sounds familiar, she’s the paid gun-control lobbyist who the Democrats put on the supposedly non-partisan Crime Commission a few months ago, destroying the Commission’s credibility on any gun-related items.
The other slots were taken by the following organizations (note the dates the applications were submitted – all self-proclaimed progressive organizations, all magically within a few days of Goddard’s application, and all before VCDL’s Lobby Day 2020!):
9 am: Care in Action. Applied on January 17, 2020.
1 pm: Progress Virginia (another gun-control rally). Applied on January 17, 2020.
3 pm: New Virginia Majority. Applied on January 19, 2020.
DGS’s own rules say they will grant the venues to the first applicant with a valid application. That would have made VCDL the first valid applicant for the 11 am slot (or any of the slots for that matter). But that’s not what is being done.
And that’s not all: notification of who has actually gotten the slots won’t be known until mid-December, making planning for such an event very difficult.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, VCDL president Philip Van Cleave joins me to talk about their revised plans for the Lobby Day rally on January 18th. He’s still expecting tens of thousands of gun owners from around the state and across the country, but this time they’ll be in their vehicles as they drive through the Richmond streets showing their support for the Second Amendment.
Van Cleave says that speakers for Lobby Day will be streaming their speeches live so that the drivers and passengers can tune in and listen as they convoy through the city, but he also notes that those who want to park their cars and go for a stroll downtown will be able to do so if they want. In fact, because there’s no official rally site, Richmond’s prohibition on lawful carrying of firearms during events that require a permit won’t apply to those individual gun owners who want to carry if they decide to take a break from the caravan and go for a walk.
When tens of thousands of gun owners converged on the state Capitol this past January, we were rallying against a half-dozen gun control proposals, most of which ended up passing in a watered-down form. The centerpiece of Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun control agenda was defeated in the state Senate, however, after several rural Democrats decided they couldn’t vote for the sweeping gun, magazine, and suppressor ban in its current form.
We’re not sure what the legislative priorities for Democrats will be in 2021, but Van Cleave says gun control activists in the state have indicated that they want to go after the carrying of firearms; both openly and concealed. Northam’s gun ban bill will almost certainly be revived as well, and it’s likely we’ll see further attempts to erode the state’s firearm preemption laws and reciprocity agreements when lawmakers begin their next session in early January.
Be sure to check out the entire interview with Philip Van Cleave in the video window above, and if you’ve got the time, I hope that you’ll make plans to join thousands of your fellow gun owners in Richmond on January 18th, 2021 for what promises to be a Lobby Day to remember.