Editorial Op-Ed from the VA Civil Rights Rally Will Morgan January 22, 2020 Join the Conversation Editor's Note: This is one of only a handful of rare guest op-eds in the history of RECOIL. One of our contributors, Will Morgan, was on the ground Monday and these are his firsthand impressions and photographs. The Second Amendment is for everyone, and the rally is evidence that we're not the only ones to get that point. In this article gun rights and second amendment rights will be referred to as Civil Rights, because that’s what they are and it’s a term that transcends political differences and encourages discourse. In 1775 the Great American Patriot Patrick Henry immortally declared “give me liberty or give me death!” at Richmond’s St. John’s church. Today, barely one mile away at the Capitol Square, a conservative estimate of 22,000 equally patriotic Americans gathered to echo Henry’s powerful message. The notable absence of Virginia’s current governor and notorious bigot Ralph Northam and his ilk suggests that the message was received loud and clear. As my good friend Gary Hughes of MOD Outfitters eloquently puts it, our segment of the pro-civil rights community has been on the defensive for far too long. Our opposition has been out-activism-ing us by a wide margin. That ended today. A diverse cross-section of our community stood together on and around Richmond’s Capital Square to deliver a powerful message. When I say our community, I mean just about everyone. I shook hands with libertarians, LGBT+ advocates, Black Panthers, Bikers, Boomers, ANTIFA, Trump supporters, and Millennials. I even shook hands with Alex Jones, though I was disappointed to find out he won’t be making any further appearances on Joe Rogan anytime soon. Men and women young and old, from those clad in $3,000 suits to those I wasn’t sure weren’t actually a part of the local homeless population came out to make a stand for what they believe in. I even saw an older heavily accented Chinese woman standing on the steps of Richmond’s U.S. Court of Appeals lecturing on freedom while a bearded white man with a Hong Kong flag stood close by. Again, the whole gang was there. The second amendment is for everyone. The sooner we embrace this message the sooner we can begin winning over people who are currently the opposition, quell the threat of becoming criminals and potentially being murdered by our own government, and eventually start taking back ground. Although the crowd was heavily armed, there were no reported arrests, nor were there any serious confrontations. My train ride from Fairfax, VA to Washington D.C. last night was more violent, almost as if law-abiding gun owners are peaceful, freedom-loving, responsible citizens, which was exactly why we were there to begin with – because we are law-abiding gun owners who want to remain as law-abiding as we are peaceful. The arms openly carried were as diverse as the crowd, from 22LR SIG Mosquitos to a now-famous 50BMG Barrett you probably saw memed before the event was even concluded, and everything in between. It should come as no surprise that the most popular choice was the AR-15. Pistols were a fairly boring split between Glocks, 1911’s, and “other,” with other mostly consisting of less than desirable options. I didn’t see any of the white supremacists the mainstream media suggested were turning out in droves to do white supremacist stuff, either. Though I’ve little doubt there were some racists lurking among us, they didn’t make their presence known. Nobody in the crowd seemed to have shown up to fight with each other, and the atmosphere was one of tolerance, as long as you weren’t a sitting member of the Virginia General Assembly or their cowardly tyrant governor, at least. The Original Black Panther Party of Virginia were in attendance, which was appropriate considering the gun control measures passed by then-governor of California Ronald Reagan in 1968 banning open carry of long guns after armed Black Panther Party members began shadowing police officers in an attempt to discourage abuses of authority and promote equal treatment of blacks. Speaking of police, they were there too! I spoke to many police officers, mostly trying to scare up what information I could look for the rumored Antifa counter-protestors. I’m not sure if they were being deliberately deceptive or if they really didn’t show up, but none of them seemed to know of any. I ran into a few individual members, but they were there showing support for the same cause we were, and we’ve got more imminent threats to deal with when we’re addressing a specific grievance than unrelated grievances with each other. Also present was Sons of Liberty Gunworks’ head honcho Mike Mihalski, who at the last minute altered his plans to attend SHOT Show’s Range Day to be able to attend, commendably choosing the fight to retain our civil rights over his immediate business interests. Mihalski also recently made waves by donating a SOLGW rifle to Jack Wilson, the hero of the recent attempted mass shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, TX. That’s because a growing number of Americans feel at odds with those in power, and whether our views define “those in power” as the government, large private enterprise, or both, we as a nation are slowly coming to recognize that much like the days of Patrick Henry, we’re once again being ruled by a separate class with an entirely different set of rules. Think I sound like a leftist and need to shut my snowflake libtard pie hole? Jeffery Epstein. This won’t be the last time we need to stand together to protect our civil rights. There were some really great lessons learned, and I hope the next protest we’re forced to hold reinforces our resolve even further. I’d like to close with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Explore RECOILweb:[SHOT Show 2017] TOPS Knives ICE DaggerA Look at McMillan’s New A-10 StockRECOIL StatementThe Remington RP45 Adds .45 ACP to the Full Size Lineup NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. 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