Thousands of people decided to spend the MLK Day holiday marching through the streets of Richmond, Virginia, with guns.
The Virginia gun rally, organized by Virginia Citizens Defense League, was purportedly about protecting Second Amendment rights. The rally was supported by the president of the United States. The group planned the rally to encourage state legislators not to pass several gun control laws that Democrats have promised after taking control of Virginia’s government.
However, several of the would-be participants were known White supremacists who were attempting to start a race war, according to The New York Times.
Members of the White supremacist group The Base planned to attend the rally in order to start a race war. On Jan. 16, 2019, the FBI arrested Maryland residents, Brian Mark Lemley, Jr., 33; William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 19; and Patrik Jordan Mathews, 27.
On Jan. 17, the FBI arrested members of the group in Georgia. Luke Austin Lane of Floyd County, Georgia; Michael Helterbrand of Dalton, Georgia; and Jacob Kaderli of Dacula, Georgia, were planning to overthrow the government and murder a couple in Bartow County, Georgia. The men believed the couple belong to a group called the Atlanta Antifacists.
Fearing another Charlottesville incident, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of the gun rights rally and banned all weapons, including firearms, in the area around the state capital in Richmond.