Who’s coming to Richmond gun rally; Antifa says it won’t mount counter protest; Gun sales surge and more headlines

Police erected thousands of feet of fencing around Capitol Square in preparation for a large pro-gun rally Monday morning. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.


• Meet Phil Van Cleave, the computer programmer and ex-rock guitarist who heads the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which is organizing today’s massive gun rally in Richmond. — The Chesterfield Observer

• Virginia antifascist activists say they will not mount a counter demonstration in Richmond today. — The Guardian

• “By banning weapons and closing entrances, state and local officials in Richmond are trying to avoid a repeat of the deadly clash in Charlottesville.” — The New York Times

• Gun sales in Virginia hit their second-highest monthly total on record in December. — Richmond Times-Dispatch

• As pro-gun activists rally a few blocks away, an interfaith group will hold a vigil in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. — WTVR

•  The “unorganized militia of Floyd County” mustered over the weekend. “No leader of a free people has a reason to fear an armed populace,” one member said. — The Roanoke Times

•  Gun groups, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers and maybe white supremacists: a look at some of the groups expected to take part in today’s gun rally. — The Associated Press

• Nowhere has Virginia’s “sudden and intense gun-control debate been more fraught than in Virginia Beach.” — The Washington Post


•The University of Richmond says there’s enough evidence to confirm “that part of its campus is built over the graves of enslaved people.” — Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Richmond schools will cancel classes because so many teachers will attend a rally next week to boost education funding. — The Associated Press

• Former journalists in the General Assembly are again pushing bills to protect reporters and expand public access to records — WVTF

• Ft. Belvoir’s nuclear plant, the first to provide electricity to the U.S. power grid is nearing the final steps of dismantling. — WTOP

•  Bam Bam, a puppy with a serious illness who was stolen from a Virginia Beach animal shelter, was returned, resumed parvo treatment and reunited with his siblings. — WAVY

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Robert Zullo
Robert has been winning and losing awards as a reporter and editor for 13 years at weekly and daily newspapers, beginning at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., where he was a staff writer and managing editor. He spent five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]