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Pro-gun rally by thousands in Virginia ends peacefully

UPDATE: January, 20, 2019 3:27 P.M.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Tens of thousands of gun-rights activists from around the country rallied peacefully at the Virginia Capitol to protest plans by the state's Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation that have become a key flash point in the national debate over gun violence.

The size of the rally Monday and the expected participation of white supremacists and fringe militia groups raised fears that the state could see a repeat of the violence that exploded in 2017 in Charlottesville.

But the rally concluded uneventfully around noon, and the mood was largely festive. Attendees spilled into the streets, chanting "USA" and waving signs denouncing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

ORIGINAL STORY

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Thousands of gun-rights activists and other groups are crowding the streets around Virginia's Capitol to protest plans by the state's Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency days ahead of Monday's rally and banned weapons from the area in front of the Capitol building.

Protesters said they weathered chilly temperatures to show legislators in Richmond there was strong opposition to their plans.

They chanted in support of President Donald Trump, who in turn tweeted support for their goals.

Officials feared fringe groups could use the rally to stir up violence and chaos reminiscent of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

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Associated Press

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