By Libby Lewis, CNN
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(CNN) - The school shooting in Newtown has put guns on the front burner in some states, as well as with President Obama.
New York and Maryland may have grabbed recent headlines for taking a tough stance on guns, but they’re heavily Democratic states.
It’s a different story in red states – and purple states.
Attitudes are shifting in Virginia, home of the National Rifle Association. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University showed most Virginians are in favor of requiring background checks for buyers at gun shows. That’s not the law now.
But in the Virginia legislature, the pro-gun rights folks have a lot of friends.
A House panel flat out killed a number of gun restriction bills last week. And a House delegate just proposed a bill to try to bar Virginia from helping the federal government carry out any “investigation, prosecution, detention, arrest, search, or seizure” that would “infringe on the individual right to keep and bear arms…”
People on both sides of the gun issue showed up in Richmond on Monday to lobby lawmakers during an annual lobbying event.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League – whose motto is, “Defending Your Right to Defend Yourself" – had dozens of supporters there, some of them motivated by Newtown to lobby their cause for the first time.
Among the pro-gun crowd were a number of women, and a young interracial couple – in their 20s – both college grads. At a meeting of the Virginia Citizens Defense League to plan for the lobbying trip, there was a guy in a business suit, a State Department employee, an intelligence analyst and a videographer.
Bruce Jackson’s on the board of directors for the group:
[2:10] "Basically, a lot of people think when you go to a gun show, all you’re gonna see is mouth-breathing, camo-wearing, red-necked, fat, old, white guys driving pickup trucks. And that’s not true. Basically, it’s a big swath of humanity."
Dozens of folks also showed up to lobby for gun restrictions – some of them for the first time – because of Newtown.
Rebecca Caffrey is working with a group called One Million Moms for Gun control – it was formed after Newtown to push for background checks, an assault weapons ban and other restrictions. She asked the group in Richmond for help – beyond just "liking" the group on Facebook:
[4:45] "We have a lot of very passive supporters and we need people who will actually show up."