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Virginia’s Massive Pro-Gun Rally Draws Big Crowds, Big Weapons, and Alex Jones in a Big Armed Vehicle

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Julio Cortez/AP

It had all the ingredients for a powder keg: Thousands of heavily armed protesters pissed off about proposed gun control laws, troubling online calls for violence and a new civil war, and echoes of a deadly rally that took place in the same state three years ago. But the pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday did not end in violence, as many had feared. Instead, it ended with the shrill, gravelly baritone of Alex Jones’ voice, as the notorious conspiracy theorist and Infowars founder popped out of a hatch from inside an armored Infowars’ vehicle, cruising around and screaming at passersby through a megaphone.

“If they try to take our firearms,” he yelled, “1776 will commence again!”

Ever since a newly elected Democratic majority took control of Virginia’s state legislature in November, gun owners and 2nd Amendment activists have been preparing for a fight to protect the state’s gun laws, which for years—partially because the headquarters of the National Rifle Association are located in the state—have been some of the loosest in the country. The gun rights group Virginia Citizens Defense League had planned a peaceful pro-gun rally on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, which in Richmond happened to fall on Lobby Day, an annual day for residents to lobby lawmakers on all sorts of issues, including gun laws.

But in the weeks leading up to the massive gun rally, neo-Nazi and fascist groups online shared plans to co-opt the rally to advance their own violent agenda. On........

© Mother Jones