The Latest: Thousands gather at Virginia Capitol for Lobby Day

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THE LATEST — Live updates from the Virginia State Capitol as thousands of people have descended on downtown Richmond for Lobby Day.


3:00 p.m. One person has been arrested following Monday’s gun rally at the Capitol. Police said Mikaela E. Beschler, 21, of Richmond, was charged with one felony count of wearing a mask in public. Beschler was arrested while demonstrating on East Broad Street.

“The arrest resulted after the officer saw Beschler for a third time with a bandanna covering her face,” authorities explained. “He had repeatedly warned her on two separate occasions to adjust the bandanna.”

21-year-old Mikaela E. Beschler

Beschler was released on her own recognizance.

1:30 p.m. Roughly an hour-and-a-half after the scheduled gun rally concluded, officials said that Capitol Square had ’emptied out’ and that no arrests had been made at this time.

1:00 p.m. Sources told 8News that a man who was trying to climb up the fire escape of the 12-story Mutual Building at 909 E. Main Street was detained by security. It’s unclear what, if any, charges the man could face.

12:00 p.m. The pro-gun rally that prompted Gov. Northam to declare a state of emergency and law enforcement officials to implement additional security measures at the State Capitol, including metal detectors and fencing, has officially come to an end.

While supporters remain on Capitol grounds, the Lobby Day rally organized by pro-gun groups was scheduled from 11 a.m. until noon.

10:00 a.m. Thousands of people have gathered at Capitol Square to protest plans by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation. A sea of people can be heard chanting “U.S.A.”

Flags that read “Don’t tread on my rights” and “Trump 2020,” and signs that read “We will not comply” accompany the crowd. Some out-of-staters have told 8News the reason they’re here to protest is, “if we don’t stand up and try to stop new gun laws in Virginia, I’m afraid the same thing will happen in my home state too.”

Speakers at the rally will begin at 11 a.m.

8:17 a.m. Hundreds of people are starting to make their way onto Capitol grounds. The crowd is getting larger by the second.

7:32 a.m. The crowds continue to grow. Police are searching every inch of people’s belongings. Our 8News Reporter Delaney Hall says security was quick but thorough.

PHOTO GALLERY: Thousands gather at Virginia Capitol for Lobby Day

Below is the list of prohibited items:

  • firearms
  • knives, scissors, needles, razors, and other bladed weapons
  • slingshots
  • spring sticks or batons
  • metal knuckles
  • blackjacks
  • nunchucks, chains, or other flailing weapons
  • throwing stars, knives, darts, or other throwing weapons
  • stun guns, tasers
  • sticks, poles, bats, baseballs, softballs, glass bottles
  • shields, helmets
  • toy guns and toy weapons
  • drones/sUAS, laser pointers
  • Caustic substances (pepper spray), aerosol containers
  • Hazardous materials, fireworks, torches, and open flames
  • other dangerous items or items that may be used as weapons

7:16 a.m. Capitol Square is under a ‘State of Emergency’ as tens of thousands of people are expected to gather on Lobby Day after Gov. Northam enacted a gun ban because of serious threats of violence.

This morning, Virginia State Police and RPD were preparing for the massive gun-rights rally hosted by the Virginia Citizens of Defense League. Several thousand activists appeared hours before the 11 a.m. rally was set to begin.

By 7 a.m., more than 100 people were waiting in line at the Capitol to petition to their lawmakers and also participate in the rally.

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