In Virginia, fight against gun control gives rise to armed militias

In Virginia, fight against gun control gives rise to armed militias

New militias formed in Virginia after a pro-gun rally brought thousands of firearms enthusiasts from all over the country to Richmond in January. (John Rudoff/Sipa USA via AP) RICHMOND — The volunteers who showed up this summer to help a church charity move to a new spot in rural Campbell County were from the same type of group that swooped in when a nearby Lynchburg restaurant was targeted by protesters: the local militia. Earlier this year, Campbell’s board of supervisors officially recognized the self-proclaimed militia as an organization to “enhance the safety and security” of citizens and as a “barrier against a tyrannical government.” Bedford County followed suit. A similar resolution is being debated in Halifax County. Local reaction has been “nothing but positive,” said Matt Cline, the Campbell County supervisor who introduced the measure. “I would hope that the constitutional militia movement would take off across the state and other states.” It has. Armed militia groups have formed throughout Virginia this year, an outgrowth of the “Second Amendment sanctuary” movement that swept county courthouses a year ago as a backlash against proposed gun control laws. Supporters say the militia members are simply citizens out to help their communities and that the resolutions are symbolic, meant to send a message to Democrats who control state government that rural Virginia will not abide any efforts to restrict access to guns . Largely White, the groups generally ban Confederate iconography and aim to present an image connected with the patriot groups […]

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