The mother of Heather Heyer, a Virginia woman killed at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, owns a gun, and she said some proposed gun restrictions in the state might go too far.
Susan Bro had a message for any gun rights supporters considering violence at a rally Monday at the Virginia Capitol in Richmond: "We don't need your help."
"I grew up with guns," Bro told CNN on Monday as the crowd gathered. "I believe in common-sense gun measures but not extreme measures."
Democrats took control of the state Legislature and have a batch of gun control proposals. One Senate-passed measure would reimpose a one-handgun-a-month law the GOP majority repealed after it passed in the 1990s, Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told USA TODAY.
The Senate also passed a bill that would authorize localities to prohibit firearms in public spaces during permitted events and another that would require background checks for firearm transfers.
Tobias said he believes the House will pass all these measures and Gov. Ralph Northam will sign them into law.
Northam and most Democrats support five other “common-sense” gun safety measures, including a “red flag” law similar to what other states have enacted, which they hope to pass in this session.
"I think that the measures which Northam proposed do not violate the Second Amendment," Tobias said. "People who disagree could file suit, but I think that Virginia would prevail."
Bro said she thinks some of the proposals are "a bit extreme," but she supports much of the legislation. She said it is vital that the debate be calm and nonviolent.
Suspected members of a violent neo-Nazi group were arrested last week in Maryland and Georgia. Federal authorities said they feared the Maryland suspects would try to incite violence at the rally.
Northam declared a state of emergency Wednesday, and the rally drew strict security measures.
Bro urged anyone thinking of stirring up trouble in Richmond to stay away.
"If you are there to actually speak with representatives, to have your voice heard, to have calm conversations about what's happening, by all means be there," Bro said. "But understand that it may be dangerous today because there are foolish people who want to stir up more hate."
Bro leads the Heather Heyer Foundation, which operates a scholarship program honoring the young civil rights activist who "dedicated her life to promoting equal rights for all people."
Heyer, 32, a paralegal, was a counterprotester at the Charlottesville rally where she died. Avowed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr. was sentenced to life in prison for killing Heyer and injuring dozens when he rammed his car into a crowd.
Contributing: Ryan W. Miller
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Heather Heyer's mom says Democrats in Richmond, Va., going too far