Northam said at a press conference Wednesday that the decision is based on "credible intelligence" from "mainstream channels, both offline and online, such as alternative dark web channels used by violent groups and white nationalists from outside Virginia", which law enforcement says have "malicious plans" that include storming the state Capitol building and stirring up violence at Monday's rally. "We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here", he said, reported USA Today, referring to a rally where clashes broke out and a protester was killed. That means guns will not be allowed on Capitol grounds during that time.
Militia groups from around the state and elsewhere in the country, as well as other gun rights groups, have rallied against the measures since Democrats won control of the state's government past year.
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The Virginia Citizens Defense League, VCDL, a group that describes itself as a "non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms", plans on holding a rally.
Republicans were mixed in their response. Todd Gilbert lamented that "there are legitimate concerns of a few bad actors hijacking the rally".
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The official said the state does not have intelligence that the groups are planning a specific act of violence, but said Northam has grown increasingly concerned about numerous ominous-sounding postings on social media from forces outside Virginia. One woman was killed and several more were injured when a auto plowed into a group of counterprotesters.
Newly empowered Democrats in the General Assembly voted Friday to ban guns at the Capitol and a legislative office building, saying the move was needed to protect public safety.
Northam's declaration will also ban items like helmets and shields, items that some white nationalists carried in Charlottesville.
The law does not prohibit guns from the grounds near the Capitol, which is why Northam signed an executive order for this weekend. That ban did not include Capitol grounds, which are under the governor's control.
With Democrats holding the bicameral legislature, there has been a push to enact gun control.
Many gun-rights groups contend the U.S. Constitution guarantees their ability to possess any firearm. Gun owners are descending on local government offices to demand they establish sanctuaries for gun rights.
Some localities have declared themselves "Second Amendment Sanctuary Cities" and pledged not to enforce state gun restrictions.