Emily Miller, the chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C.'s Fox affiliate WTTG, is scheduled to speak at a rally organized by Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a far-right pro-gun group. VCDL has previously published racially charged content in its newsletter and suggested violent action against the government may be an “option” for gun advocates.
For years, gun safety advocates and VCDL have held opposing Lobby Day events at the Virginia State Capitol on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Carrying guns is permitted inside the Capitol and the General Assembly Building -- many VCDL supporters show up to Lobby Day armed. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, during Lobby Day 2014, “The gun-rights advocates of the VCDL occupied the area of the Capitol Bell Tower in the morning, carrying a variety of weapons ranging from handguns to AR-15 rifles and wearing blaze orange stickers proclaiming 'Guns Save Lives.'”
Miller, who is a frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence, is scheduled to speak at a VCDL capitol grounds rally, according to the group's press release. Miller will share the stage with gun extremist Larry Pratt, who leads the far-right Gun Owners of America organization. Pratt is one of the founders of the militia movement of the 1990s and was forced to leave Pat Buchanan's 1996 presidential campaign after it was revealed he had spoken before white supremacist groups. Pratt has made headlines for his repeated insistence that politicians should have a “healthy fear” of being shot by one of GOA's supporters.
VCDL has also expressed extreme positions on gun regulation. During an April 2013 appearance on The Daily Show, VCDL president Philip Van Cleave said of background checks on gun sales, “We don't do background checks for the First Amendment.”
After disappointing attendance at Lobby Day 2014, VCDL issued a newsletter suggesting that if the group did not obtain its goals through the legislative process that violent remedies were an option (emphasis added):
We need to do better, much better, next year. It's our battle to lose: yours and mine. Are we going to squander all the hard work we've done over the last 20 years with complacency or are we going to close ranks and move forward as an unstoppable army? Like I said, this isn't someone else's battle, this is OUR battle. WE win it together or WE lose it separately. Like it or not, the battle is never going away. Freedom isn't free and we owe it to ourselves and future generations to protect the jewel of liberty. We must fight to hang on to our freedoms or they will surely be ripped from our fingers. Yes, there's the “cold, dead fingers” option, but I'd prefer not to have to exercise that one if I can avoid it with political activism, wouldn't you?
VCDL has also published racially charged content in its newsletter. A 2011 newsletter republished an article that offered advice on how to defend oneself if confronted by “urban thugs” in flash mob attack. The article advised that it was a “stupid idea” to “stroll at midnight through a ethnically homogenous part of town (different ethnicity that you).” The article also warned, “If you are standing around and see a group of twenty young urban thugs about two blocks away yelling, 'kill whitey', and lookin at your reflection in the store window, realize that you have not been in the sun in a while, here is my advice - 'RUN'.”
The article then imagined, in graphic fashion, the best self-defense practices if attacked by a flash mob wielding pangas -- an African weapon similar to a machete:
If you have a pistol, please make sure it is a modern high capacity weapon with a couple of spare magazines in your belt. The Suarez International company gun, a Glock 17 with three magazines, yields a sum total of 52 rounds.. Figure three rounds per man, and you can reduce an angry mob of panga swinging killers into a fleeing group of bloodied bad guys. Draw it and yell, “Get The F*** Back!” If they do, run away. If they do not, shoot the first man in the face. The rest will take care of itself.