What are Virginia's gun laws

Demonstration against stricter gun laws

Under massive security precautions, gun advocates gathered in Richmond, the capital of Virginia. An assault rifle was depicted on a huge banner with the phrase "Come and take it" underneath. Protesters chanted "USA, USA" and - with a view to a possible further term of office of President Donald Trump - "Another four years". Several protesters wore caps that read "Make America Great Again" or "Trump 2020".

Gun ownership is a "God-given right" for many US citizens

"It is our God-given constitutional right to bear arms," ​​said the 24-year-old Brooks of the AFP news agency. A pistol is used for self-protection, added the young man. "We are desperately trying to stop gun control," said Michael Parker, who had traveled from Georgia state to attend the demonstration. He's been shooting since he was eight years old. "It's my way of life," said the 22-year-old from the German press agency.

There were also protests outside the official demonstration site. Some of the protesters carried weapons with them, which had been banned around the government building in Richmond. The Democratic governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, declared a state of emergency as a precautionary measure because of "credible and serious" threats of violence - including from right-wing extremists.

An estimated 10,000 protesters gathered outside the government building in Richmond

The protests are directed against a planned law that, among other things, would prohibit the purchase of more than one firearm per month in Virginia. A broad protest movement has formed in the traditionally conservative state against plans to tighten gun law. The Virginia's government has already given up a planned ban on semi-automatic weapons in the face of the protests.

"Every gun control is racism"

President Trump fueled the protest against plans by the Democratic government to tighten gun laws on Twitter: The Virginia's government is working hard to deprive people of the right to gun ownership, Trump wrote. "This is just the beginning. Don't let it happen."

Stand firmly by their convictions, gun advocates in the US

In an election in November, the Democrats succeeded in taking over the majority in both Houses of Parliament in Richmond, which the Republicans had held so far.

qu / kle (dpa, afp, rtr)