Authorities in Virginia’s capital city are reminding people to leave their guns at home if they plan to protest outside the statehouse.
Richmond police say signs are being posted in advance of events surrounding Lobby Day 2021 reminding people that firearms are prohibited at permitted events and events that would otherwise require a permit, as well as in adjacent public areas.
Lobby Day, which is Monday, refers to the day when public interest groups gather at the statehouse to express their views on public policy issues. Those groups include supporters of gun rights.
The signs are based on a new city ordinance approved in September that prohibits guns at any event, regardless of whether it is formally permitted by the city.
State and local law enforcement officials have stepped up security and closed off areas surrounding the capitol in advance of demonstrations expected this week.
The security measures are aimed at preventing the type of violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a supporters of President Donald Trump swarmed the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote.
The FBI has warned of the potential for armed protests at state capitol buildings around the country starting Sunday.
Small protests numbering no more than a few dozen people were reported Sunday in Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina and other states.
Downtown Richmond was quiet Sunday afternoon with no sign of protesters, as police vehicles, dump trucks and orange barrels blocked streets around the Virginia Capitol.
Officers also were stationed in front of the Science Museum of Virginia, where the state Senate meets during the pandemic because it has more room to socially distance. No protesters were there either.