- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2020

A pro-gun rights caravan is coming to the Virginia state Capitol in January because organizers say the time slot to host their annual Lobby Day rally — which drew thousands last year — was taken by gun control advocates.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) says on its website that its permit request to rally at the Capitol Square at 11 a.m. on Jan. 18 was denied because the spot was already given to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

VCDL says it was told years ago that an application to use the square sent more than six months before the event would not be approved by the state Department of General Services.

“We have followed that rule, booked six months out, and gotten the 11 a.m. slot for 17 years,” the group’s website states.

This year, however, organizers were surprised when they learned permit requests for all time slots that day, except 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., had been sent almost a year in advance and were already approved.

“If the Governor and the Democrats in the General Assembly want to play games in order to suppress our right to free speech, then we’ll play a game of our own: it’s called #Rolling4the2A, and this they can’t stop,” the website states.

The “VCDL Lobby Day Train” is expected to draw thousands of cars to Richmond on the afternoon of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, which has been dubbed “Lobby Day” for advocacy groups to meet at the state Capitol.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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