Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency on Wednesday, banning all weapons, including guns, from Capitol Square ahead of a gun rights rally slotted for next week.
The ban comes after credible threats of potential violence and extremism, said one official.
"Let me be clear. These are considered credible threats by law enforcement agencies," Northam said.
Northam said that threats have included storming the Capitol and having weaponized drones flying overhead. There have also been online postings that say people have scouted entry and exit points in the Capitol building. One post included a photo of an AR-15 with a caption that said there are "great sight angles from certain buildings" near Capitol Square.
Guns are already banned from inside the Capitol and a legislative office building. Northam extended that ban to the Capitol grounds.
"Hate, intimidation, and violence has no place here," Northam said.