FAA Bans Drones Near Virginia Capitol Ahead of Gun Rights Rally

FAA Bans Drones Near Virginia Capitol Ahead of Gun Rights Rally

(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has banned drones within a 2.3 mile radius of the Virginia state Capitol building in Richmond, the latest step as authorities prepare for a rally amid worries the event may turn to violence.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat who backs the gun control proposals at the heart of the protests planned for Monday, declared a state of emergency and temporarily banned guns on the state Capitol grounds, amid what he labeled “credible threats of violence.”

FAA Bans Drones Near Virginia Capitol Ahead of Gun Rights Rally

Northam said while he expects the majority attending the rally to be peaceful protesters, it’s also “attracting extreme individuals and groups -- including national hate, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist groups -- who are threatening violence and looking to advance a violent agenda.”

The precautions come after the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, a college town about an hour and a half’s drive from the state capital, where one counterprotester was killed and several more were injured when a white supremacist drove a vehicle into a crowd.

“While we fully expect this to be peaceful, there are legitimate concerns of a few bad actors hijacking the rally,” Virginia state House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert said. The FBI last week arrested three people who’d obtained weapons and discussed participating in the rally, the New York Times reported.

Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, serves on the advisory board of Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for universal background checks and gun-control measures.

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Wallbank in Singapore at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chua Baizhen at, Jon Herskovitz

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