The FBI arrested three men allegedly linked to a violent white-supremacist group who had discussed traveling to a pro-gun rally Monday in Richmond, Va., and preparing for a race war, the Wall Street Journal reports. Two of the men, one a former Canadian Army reservist in the U.S. illegally, face charges including transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony. One was charged with transporting a machine gun, and the third was charged with transporting and harboring an illegal alien. State officials are preparing for thousands of people to attend the rally at the state Capitol. On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam temporarily banned firearms from the Capitol grounds, citing concerns about weaponized drones and armed militias.
Rally organizers are responding to gun-control bills Democrats have aimed to pass since they won control of state legislature in November. Several bills are moving quickly, including legislation the Senate approved Thursday to expand background checks and limit people to one handgun purchase per month. Gun-rights groups sued Thursday, claiming state law prohibited the governor from using a state-of-emergency declaration to ban firearms from the area near the Capitol building. A judge upheld the governor’s order. The three men arrested Thursday belong to the white supremacist group “the Base,” authorities said. Members in encrypted chat rooms have discussed topics like creating a “white entho-state,” ways to make improvised-explosive devices and violence against African-Americans and Jewish Americans, a FBI agent said in an affidavit. The Base is a small, militant neo-Nazi group that emerged in 2018, said the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.