In Pursuit of Liberty

My group and I gathered at South of the Border, coming together from across the state, to travel to Richmond for the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) Lobby Day event. After we left S.O.B. we traveled north into North Carolina. We stopped at the rest area to change from concealed carry to open carry (OC) of our handguns. The rest area was bustling with travelers. We changed to OC and made our way into the buildings and bathrooms before continuing our journey. We had NO problems or issues with law enforcement or the other travelers while there. We did get some looks but those came from travelers with Canada, New York, and New Jersey tags. A couple of travelers walked up and asked questions about who we were and where we were going.

After leaving the rest area the decision was made to stop for breakfast. About an hour and a half later we found our desired restaurant, Denny's. Our news and media director went inside to get a table for 21. After they got an area set up for us we all entered, still OCing our handguns. NO ONE batted an eye. There were 2 local sheriff deputies, a sergeant trainer and a trainee, having breakfast about 4 tables away. Upon finishing their food and leaving, they approached us and then proceeded to THANK us for what we were doing and who we were. We ARE SC Light Foot Militia. Most of us had on Light Foot Militia swag identifying who we were. We stopped several times Sunday for bathroom breaks at rest areas in North Carolina and Virginia with no adverse encounters with the public or law enforcement.

Sunday evening we met up with another group of Patriots at a Golden Corral for dinner. Between the two groups were 50 armed and open carrying Patriots. The management and staff were great. The other diners there didn't seem or act concerned about so many armed people roving around, eating, joking and socializing.

The next day was rally day.

It was a cold and blustery day, reminiscent of the many our Founding Fathers and Patriots endured during their fight, for freedom and liberty, against a tyrannical king and his edicts.

We woke early to dress and prepare for whatever events the day would hold.

In the early predawn hours, I stood outside, taking in the beauty the winter sky held. A crescent moon sat in the ladle of one of the dippers. I thanked God for such a beautiful sight and began to pray. Dear Lord keep your hand of protection over myself, my group and all who would attend the day's events at the capital in Richmond.

We arrived around 7 AM to a blustery 15-20 mph wind and air temps below freezing, yet we were not deterred. As we made our way from the parking area to our predetermined rally point, we began to encounter numerous other Patriots - most were armed with both handguns and long guns, visibly open for all to see and know they were armed.

We walked the 6 blocks to our rally point on Bank Street and 9th, just outside the fenced-in Capitol Building grounds. Around 7:30 AM there were already several thousand armed Patriots gathered in the freezing temps to protest the unconditional bills the Virginia legislature was proposing and their governor said he would sign.

Richmond VA Gun Rights Rally
photo by Anthony Crider (acrider)

The official rally was to begin at 11:30 AM inside the fenced-in capitol grounds, where, by start time, there were approx 22,000 unarmed Patriots inside the fenced-off area and approximately 70,000-80,000 heavily armed Patriots standing guard over those inside. We came from 26 states. We were black, brown, white, red and yellow. Americans, Patriots from every walk of life. Rich, poor, middle class. Every age group was represented. Every race. Even those with differing political views. We gathered together peacefully. We came together to support and defend the Constitution using the First Amendment to support and defend the Second Amendment.

Tensions were admittedly high due to the unknown. Would rabble-rousers show up? Would the police react in a timely manner? Would we be herded into a confrontation as they did in Charlottesville? Thankfully, God heard all the prayers for protection and peace. Nothing happened.

Throughout the day, groups were roved about picking up trash and debris so as to leave the city of Richmond as beautiful and clean as it was when we arrived.

To sum it all up? We had a great time. Not one gun was fired in anger or by accident. Not one peacefully gathered Patriot was arrested. Several were however approached by law enforcement, but only to discuss the firearms they were carrying. This should prove to our South Carolina legislators that OC is no big deal. To all of our state and federal legislators, that guns are NOT the problem. My hope is that NOW, South Carolinians would join together in Columbia, en masse, to get OUR legislators to listen. It'll take sacrificing a day off of work or play. It'll take facing adverse weather conditions. But I promise it'll be a sacrifice worth making.

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