Thousands of gun rights activists, many heavily armed, converged on the Virginia Capitol in Richmond on Monday to protest proposed new gun laws.
"A lot of people say that the gun is the problem, and, me, I am proving here that my weapon is secure, I am disciplined and that it is not going to do anything," activist Bill Groom said.
Tensions had been rising since Democrats took control of the state legislature and proposed several bills that limit handgun purchases and require background checks.
"It starts in Virginia, and they get by with these whackado laws, it's just going to go across the country," gun-rights activist Vanessa Dallas said.
Security was beefed up after authorities revealed they've received several credible threats of violence. Gov. Ralph Northam issued a temporary state of emergency and banned weapons inside the Capitol Square, where the rally was taking place.
Gun control advocates had planned a counter protest, but was called off over concerns it could have led to confrontation.