Inside the Richmond Gun Rights Rally Where the Fringe Right Met Mainstream Conservatives

About 22,000 pro-gun activists protested gun control legislation at the Virginia State Capitol on Jan. 20, 2020. The event triggered a state of emergency in Virginia after it gained the attention of extremist right-wing figures who threatened violence.

The “Lobby Day” event ended without a violent incident, but managed to attract a collage of right-wing figures and organizations that included anti-government militias, conspiracy theorists, and hate groups–all of which mingled unopposed in large crowds of Trump-supporting, gun rights demonstrators.

A Virginia Citizens Defense League activist offers “Lobby Day” event attendees stickers that declare: “Guns Save Lives.” (Photo: Jared Holt)


A “Lobby Day” attendee dressed in traditional garb socializes on the sideline of the event. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Men wearing tactical gear and carrying firearms monitor the crowd of attendees at “Lobby Day.” (Photo: Jared Holt)


Law enforcement officers overlook crowds gathered beyond the gates of the Virginia State Capitol. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Several attendees of the “Lobby Day” event wore face coverings in spite of Virginia anti-mask laws. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Without counter-demonstrators present, pro-gun attendees wandered the streets surrounding the Virginia State Capitol. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A “Lobby Day” participant flies a Tree Flag, paying homage to the American Revolution. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A “Lobby Day” displays a sign warning attendees that anti-fascist opposition to their event was planning a “false-flag” attack on the rally to damage the reputation of participants. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Two men hoist flags outside the Virginia State Capitol on “Lobby Day” in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Several signs and pamphlets present at “Lobby Day” criticized Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was engulfed in scandal after a right-wing blog revealed Northam wore a racist costume in a photograph published in his medical school’s yearbook. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A vendor sells pro-Trump merchandise to rally attendees. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man declares on his sign: “We will not comply.” (Photo: Jared Holt)


Members of the Proud Boys, a right-wing hate group, weave through the streets outside the “Lobby Day” event at the Virginia State Capitol. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man wearing a Donald Trump mask hoists a sign reading: “No gun grab! Grab her by the pussy. Trump 2020.” (Photo: Jared Holt)


A “Lobby Day” attendee carries his rifle across his pressed shirt and jacket. He said he wanted to show that there are respectful people who believe in gun rights. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Members of what appear to be a militia group parade in the streets outside the Virginia State Capitol. (Photo: Jared Holt)


The “Lobby Day” event was as pro-Trump as it was pro-gun. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A young man displays pro-gun stickers he affixed to his skateboard. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A “Lobby Day” attendee displays a framed photo of former libertarian Sen. Ron Paul. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man screams through a megaphone with a sticker advertising the conspiracy site Infowars. (Photo: Jared Holt)


An American flag and a QAnon flag fly side-by-side. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Members of the anti-government extremist organization the Oath Keepers plan next moves in the crowds outside the Virginia State Capitol. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Infowars host Owen Shroyer overlooks the crowd outside the fence of the Virginia State Capitol after delivering an impromptu speech. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Event organizers discouraged attendees from bringing Confederate flags and memorabilia, but some people ignored the advice. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Crowds chant “USA! USA! USA!” (Photo: Jared Holt)


Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones blasts his voice through the streets of Richmond from his Infowars “battle tank” armored vehicle. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Patriot Prayer activist Joey Gibson joins Alex Jones on top of the Infowars armored vehicle. (Photo: Jared Holt)


On the north side of the Virginia State Capitol, a sign truck displays a message that Jeffrey Epstein did not die by suicide last year, a claim central to several conspiracy theories. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man and his militia group march away from downtown Richmond. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Three young men display homemade signs expressing pro-gun messages. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A “Lobby Day” attendee carries a weapon and a Guy Fawkes mask. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man holds a flag that reads: “Come and Take It.” (Photo: Jared Holt)


Daryle Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project films members of the Proud Boys hate group in the streets of downtown Richmond. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio chats with members outside the Virginia State Capitol. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man and his dog at the “Lobby Day” event in Richmond. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man shows off his homemade signage. (Photo: Jared Holt)


Armed men talk outside the Virginia State Capitol. (Photo: Jared Holt)


A man displays his sign that reads: “More patriots than you have handcuffs.” (Photo: Jared Holt)