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NBC News Reporter Deletes Tweet That Virginia Gun Rights Protest Is A ‘White Nationalist Rally’

By  Paul Bois
Anti-white supremacy protesters hold banners as they shout anti-Trump slogans at the end of a rally by gun supporters outside the Virginia State Capitol grounds in Richmond, Virginia on January 20, 2020. - Several thousand gun rights supporters massed near the Virginia state capitol Monday for a rally under heavy surveillance and a state of emergency declared by authorities fearing violence by far-right groups. Dressed in hunting jackets and caps, rally-goers were checked for weapons as they passed through tight security before entering a fenced off area of Richmond's Capitol Square for the so-called "Lobby Day" event.

An NBC News reporter was so convinced that the pro-gun rights protest in Richmond, Virginia was a “white nationalist rally” that he described it solely as such before realizing how completely false his characterization was.

“Reporters covering tomorrow’s white nationalist rally in Virginia, I’m absolutely begging you: Verify information before you send it out tomorrow, even if it’s a very sensational rumor you heard from a cop. Don’t become a hero in neo-Nazi propaganda circles with made-up stuff,” tweeted reporter Ben Collins, as reported by Newsbusters.

Though nobody can control exactly what kind of people show up to a large protest sure to attract thousands, the rally in Virginia was never once billed as a “white nationalist rally” by anyone and was simply enacted in opposition to several strict gun control bills being pushed through the state legislature. Eventually, Ben Collins deleted his tweet and clarified his statement.

“I’m deleting a tweet so I can be super clear about tomorrow’s rally in Virginia. The Lobby Day protest is and has traditionally been a gun rights rally, but white nationalists, including militant group The Base, have been planning violent action at the event,” he tweeted. “This has led to two different FBI arrests of 7 total people. The governor declared a state of emergency, citing “credible intelligence” of hate groups attending. Users on white nationalist forums planned meet-ups for months, a contrast to previous years.”

When the protest came on Monday, however, 22,000 people showed up as events unfolded rather peacefully, even as the media fretted over potential violence and a gathering of white supremacists. Even minorities attending the rally scolded those narratives for what they were: lies perpetuated by a bias media doing the will of the Democratic Party.

“Every news piece on the rally always brought up the issue of race, as though it’s nothing but white rednecks and hillbillies out here who care for the Second Amendment,” one black man told reporters at the event. “Well, actually, black Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Americans in general, care about the Second Amendment.”

“The governor, who’s known for blackface and/or possibly having a Klan hood on, has the audacity on MLK Day to declare an executive order to prevent people from lawfully protesting,” said another man.

President Trump stated his support for the Virginia protesters on Monday, warning them that Democrats are seeking to strip Americans of their second amendment rights.

“The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!” the president tweeted.

“I will NEVER allow our great Second Amendment to go unprotected, not even a little bit!” he later tweeted.

The gun control laws in Virginia have reached such heights of unpopularity that even a sheriff pledged not to enforce a law that he deemed unconstitutional.

“If the bills go through as proposed, they will not be enforced,” Sheriff Vaughan told reporters. “They’re unconstitutional. We swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Virginia, and that’s what we’ll do.”

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