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While thousands rallied outside to protect gun rights, a few were actually able to speak to Virginia lawmakers inside

Posted at 1:44 PM, Jan 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-20 14:11:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. — As thousands of people chanted and rallied for gun rights outside the Virginia State Capitol Monday, inside the situation was much more calm.

“We woke up about 5 a.m. to get ready,” Brian Buss from Smithfield said.

“I’ve been standing outside in the freezing cold weather,” Sharen Warren, from Fairfax, said.

The gun-rights advocates brought their kids, snacks, and their legislative priorities.

They all hoped to have face-to-face conversations with their elected representatives.

John Mickelinc, who lives in Richmond’s Fan neighborhood, was able to sit down with his delegate, Democrat Betsy Carr.

“I think we have a lot more agreement than I might have anticipated,” Mickelinc said after talking to Carr.

Others left annoyed because they couldn’t talk to the people they came to see.

“It’s very frustrating and they tell you make an appointment, well that is useless,” Warren said.

The advocates shared safety concerns after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the threat of potential violence at the annual Lobby Day event and declared a state of emergency.

“My mom is concerned,” Mickelinc said.

“Kind of uneasy yeah,” Sharon’s husband David Warren said.

But also scoffed at people making threats on the Internet.

“You’re going to have those people who are going to speak out loud, keyboard warriors, but they’re not actually going to come and show their face or do anything, they will stay in their basement,” Buss said.

No violent incidents were reported Monday.