Virginia Democrat says death threats ahead of gun-rights rally will force him into safe house

Del. Lee Carter, a Democrat from Manassas, will spend Monday in a safe house after he said he received death threats ahead of a rally that’s expected to draw crowds of gun activists to Virginia’s capital.

According to an online report by, Carter said the threats began after he reintroduced a bill last year aimed at allowing most government employees – aside from law enforcement officers – the right to strike.

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Lee Carter (D-Manassas) joins his colleagues in the pledge of allegiance to start off the Virginia General Assembly, which went solidly blue in 2019 in Richmond, VA. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Carter, a self-described democratic socialist, says gun-rights advocates claimed the bill was designed to punish law enforcement who did not enforce Virginia’s new gun laws.

While Carter does support some gun control measures, like universal background checks, he says he does not support all of them, the article reports.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency over threats from militia groups ahead of the gun-rights rally. His emergency order bans weapons of all kinds, including firearms, from the Capitol grounds starting Friday because of potential violence during the rally. Northam says some of the rhetoric used by groups planning to attend the rally is similar to what was said in the lead-up to a deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking an injunction against the ban. A judge on Thursday upheld the ban. An emergency appeal has now been filed by the groups.

Also on Thursday, the FBI in Maryland announced the arrest of three men who they said were linked to a violent white supremacist group and were believed to be heading to the rally in Richmond.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.