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Police seize firearms from Black men at Virginia rally for gun rights

Police stopped a car of Black men and confiscated two of their guns at Virginia's annual 'Lobby Day' on Monday while white gun rights activists defied local laws unimpeded in the state capital of Richmond.

1/19/2021 8:21:00 AM

Police stopped a car of Black men and confiscated two of their guns at Virginia’s annual ‘Lobby Day,’ while white gun rights activists defied laws unimpeded in the state capital of Richmond by JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1

Police stopped a car of Black men and confiscated two of their guns at Virginia's annual 'Lobby Day' on Monday while white gun rights activists defied local laws unimpeded in the state capital of Richmond.

4 Min ReadRICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) - Police stopped a car of Black men and confiscated two of their guns at Virginia’s annual “Lobby Day” on Monday while white gun rights activists defied local laws unimpeded in the state capital of Richmond.In a day with racial tensions on display, Black protesters denounced what they called a double standard in a state where people are free to openly carry firearms.

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Virginians converge on the capitol each Lobby Day to petition state legislators on issues of public interest, but the day has been dominated by gun rights activists in recent years. It coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which honors the slain civil rights hero.

Reuters witnessed the police stop of the African Americans, which stood in contrast to dozens of white pro-gun activists on foot and in hundreds of trucks that drove through Richmond’s streets flying “Guns Save Lives” flags without police interceding.

They were stopped one block from Richmond’s memorial to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, less than an hour after a white, anti-government “boogaloo” leader boasted on a megaphone that his group was violating gun and ammunition laws.One of the Black men to have handguns confiscated unleashed an expletive-laden complaint, calling it a double-standard and an example of why many African Americans resent the police.

“Everybody in the city is carrying today, and you’re only pulling us over,” yelled a Black woman who was looking on with a group of enraged bystanders. “Shoutout to Martin Luther King Day!”Slideshow( 7 images )Richmond police did not immediately respond to a Reuters query about the incident and about the protesters’ allegation of discrimination. On Twitter, police said they had issued a summons to one man at that scene for possessing a concealed firearm without a permit, and had confiscated the gun.

This year’s Lobby Day took place in a highly polarized climate, coming shortly after supporters of President Donald Trump seized the U.S. Capitol and after a year in which anti-racist and white nationalist demonstrators clashed at demonstrations across the United States.

Authorities were on high alert in Richmond, about 110 miles (175 km) south of Washington, D.C., where Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in on Wednesday, replacing the Republican Trump.Windows at the statehouse were boarded up, the public entrance was fenced off, and police patrolled the grounds.

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But only dozens of protesters assembled on Monday, compared to last year’s crowd of 22,000, as estimated by police.Similarly, nationwide pro-Trump demonstrations on Sunday largely fizzled after several states deployed the National Guard.Slideshow( 7 images )

About an hour before the Black men were pulled over, boogaloo leader Mike Dunn hoisted a megaphone alongside about 10 members of his “Last Sons of Liberty” group, all white men.Dunn told the assembled reporters and police that his group was openly carrying semiautomatic rifles “in pure defiance” of local laws, and “rocking mags (ammunition magazines) with double the legal limit.”

Dunn confirmed to Reuters that his group faced no police blowback.City law allows police to ban openly carrying guns at large public events, but they did not intervene against most gun owners on Monday.“Virginia is and remains an open carry state,” Richmond police said in a statement.

The demonstrators, including boogaloos sporting their trademark Hawaiian shirts, Proud Boys, and about 20 members of two Black self-defense groups were outnumbered by reporters.Despite being united in their support for gun rights, racial tensions were visible.

Members of the Black Lives Matter 757 and Original Black Panthers of VA were talking to reporters near the Richmond statehouse when a group of Proud Boys walked by flashing the “OK” hand gesture commonly used as a white power sign.Reporting by Julia Harte and Julio-Cesar Chavez; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Peter Szekely; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Steve Orlofsky and Nick Zieminski

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JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 This is very misleading reporting that seeks only further division. JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Racial inequality. White supremacy. White privilege. Disgusting. JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Permits ? No permits ? Concealed ? Open carry ? Nuances count.

JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Typical! JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 It is time to ban guns 🔫 JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Reuters your story needs to specifically identify what laws the white gun rights activists defined unimpeded. Also; you need to identify what laws the black men defied or was gun confiscation done on previous charges. More facts; and fact check please.

JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Policemen were at the capitol, rioting, looking for people to hang. What else do you need to know that you are dealing with a horrible horrid racist force? JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 You are feeding the racism with the contant labeling. I personally am sick of reading what color, race or gender people are. If you keep treating us separately we will never come together.

JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Members of the Black Lives Matter 757 and Original Black Panthers of VA were also armed and using their 2nd amendment rights today without problems. You know, just for balanced reporting... JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Nobody thinks this is real news anymore JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 GEEEE

JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 And so it continues JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 I believe that Biden and the DOJ will make these kind of stops and actions by racist police officers illegal, and override the police unions absolute power over law and order in the judicial system! We can only hope! JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Lol

JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Stop trying to fabricate this 'Black people with guns are treated different' narrative. We all remember this past summer in GA when hundreds of blacks stopped white motorists at gunpoint at a march and demanded 'reparations.' Cops did absolutely nothing. Screw off. JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 13% of the population, 50% of the jail population. There's your answer.

MidwinCharles JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Why. Am. I. Not. Surprised? JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Happy MLK i guess JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Nothing as changed then and nothing will change when u got police only seeing what what to see.' JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Thee were scores of black people marching with huge guns. Stop the inflammatory shit.

JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Sounds about white. JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Blacked JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Got them by the short & curlies yay 😀 JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Sounds legit. The only black in color accepted is the gun JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Not surprising!!! JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Happy MLK Day....

JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Complete shocker. I cannot believe it oh my this never happens our police are always so kind to black men. JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Why would anybody be surprised? JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 wow JulioCesrChavez JuliaHarte1 Classic