RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia State Police estimated roughly 22,000 people were in Richmond for "Lobby Day" on Monday. Amid the fears of alleged threats of violence, one attendee from Hampton Roads, Brendan Mooney, said there was no violence.
“The peacefulness," Mooney, an executive member with the Virginia Citizen's Defense League, explained, "the peacefulness was one of the biggest takeaways."
Scenes from the air and on the ground showed crowds of people rallying around Capital Square and the Capital Lawn.
“We saw all backgrounds, all colors, all creeds, all ethnicity, it was literally a microcosm of what Virginia is all about," Mooney Said. He added there were people from within the commonwealth as well as those from out of Virginia.
“We met people from South Dakota, Wyoming, we saw people from Alaska, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina," he said. "Every part of Virginia, cities that I didn’t even know existed.”
Mooney is a second-amendment advocate from Hampton Roads. He was in Richmond since 6:00 a.m. on Monday and was one of several speakers that addressed the crowd.
He previously told News 3 gun rights is neither a Republican or Democratic issue, but an American issue.
“I’m not even a hunter, I’m not anything more than a recreational shooter," Mooney said. "This is so important that we have to get it there or else it’s going to die on the vine in future generations.”
There was supposed to be a second rally afterwards, one in favor of gun laws.It was cancelled because of the threat of violence from members of radical groups at today’s event. Mooney said, “I just kind of wish they were able to come. Maybe there are some people that would have wanted to see the other viewpoint represented.”
Mooney said the only fear he had was the parking situation around Capital Square and the event. He added that today's event will be seen as a "monumental day" in Virginia’s history.
"The million-dollar question is, what is the General Assembly going to say about this," Mooney said. "We've already heard some rumblings that they maybe trying to pull back on some of the items. We really hope so."
Just as the event wrapped up, Mooney said rally-goers cleaned up whatever debris may have been dropped on the ground.