Hundreds of gun rights activists met at protested outside City Hall on Saturday, some of them armed to the teeth with handguns, AR-15 assault weapons and even muskets.
The protest was organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, and demonstrators rallied against new ordinances proposed by the City of Alexandria to limit the carrying of guns on city property. Alexandria Police were on-hand during the event, and there were a few arguments that broke out between protestors and passersby.
“The whole country looks like it’s turned upside down right now,” VCDL President Philip Van Cleave said on stage. “I’m not the only one looking at it that way. Everybody I’m talking to is just shaking their heads, ‘What happened? What’s happening?’ And it only reminds me all the more of how sacred how important that right is to be able to protect ourselves.”
David Britt of Fairfax sat at the large fountain at Market Square with his AR-15, and said if the ordinances banning weapons on city property pass that he will likely not visit Alexandria in the future.
“I love Alexandria,” Britt told ALXnow. “I normally don’t bring this (the AR-15), but I do have my concealed carry that I have with me all the time. But with these new regulations that they’re talking about, I would be illegal standing here.”
Britt got his concealed carry permit five years ago and has never pulled out his gun in public.
“I hope I never do,” he said.
Gun activists demonstrated in Alexandria last September when a man walked through the Farmer’s Market (at the same location outside City Hall) carrying weapons and alarming some patrons. The man later stood outside Del. Mark Levine’s Old Town home in protest of Levine’s proposed assault weapons ban.
Chuck Smith, a Republican candidate for Virginia Attorney General, spoke at the event.
“The next attorney general of Virginia will be pro-America, pro-Virginia, pro-Trump, pro-life, a 100% gun-toting, card-carrying supporter of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Smith told the audience. “Without the Second Amendment, we have nothing.”
Staff photos by James Cullum