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Men discussed opening fire at pro-gun rally in Richmond, say officials

Three suspected neo-Nazis who were arrested this week in Maryland and Delaware discussed opening fire at a scheduled pro-gun rally Monday at Virginia's state Capitol, according to local law officials.  

Three other men were also arrested in Georgia this week and have been linked to the same group as the men who allegedly planned the attack at Virginia capitol.

All six of the men are believed to be connected to a violent, white supremacist group called "the Base," The Wall Street Journal reports. The Georgia trio was arrested Wednesday for conspiring to murder a Georgia couple.

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The group reportedly engages in activities such as recruiting members online, holding meetings to discuss strategy and participating in paramilitary training camps northwest of Atlanta. The group's mission, according to the Journal is to, “accelerate the downfall of the U.S. government, incite a race war and establish a white ethno-state.” The newspaper obtained the mission through an affidavit associated with the Georgia arrests.  

The gun rally scheduled for MLK Day is known as Lobby Day and has been going on for almost two decades, the Journal reports. This year's rally is expected to be larger than usual, as Virginia Democrats' intend to pass a series of gun control bills that include expanded background checks.

However, on Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency, temporarily banning firearms near state Capitol grounds in Richmond.

“These threats are real — as evidenced by reports of neo-Nazis arrested this morning after discussing plans to head to Richmond with firearms,” Northam said Thursday.

Earlier on Friday, a pair of gun rights groups filed an emergency appeal of a judge's ruling that upheld Northam's decision.

The emergency appeal from Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America came after Richmond Circuit Judge Joi Taylor rejected the initial injunction filed by the groups.