Among all the dangers presented by failure attack on the US Capitol Last year, the most ominous thing was a mantra repeated over and over among January 6 cultists: Next time, we’ll bring guns.
McCall Calhoun, a Georgia attorney and so-called Second Amendment activist, has earned himself a record in Atlanta Journal-Constitution Last year when he commented on the social networking site Parler, “They learned it today when we stormed the Capitol and took it. From there we will all return armed for war. “
And over the weekend, a man who was at the January 6 protest, Oren Orr, told New York Times that, “Most people think we should carry guns, and I agree with that myself.”
If there’s another January 6 attack on the Capitol, there’s good reason to believe the insurgents will be armed with stronger weapons next time — they may have to get through security. reinforced at the Capitol.
But there’s another reason rioters want guns: because the government allows most offenders to illegally enter the Capitol to keep their guns.
More than half of the more than 700 people arrested so far have not been charged with criminal offenses serious enough to prevent them from legally possessing a firearm in the future.
“I absolutely think it was a missed opportunity. These people have proven that they will take actions against democracy itself. Why do you want them equipped? ‘ said Ryan Busse, a former gun industry executive.
“All the time I hear: ‘Let’s enforce the laws we have in the books. We don’t want bad guys to get guns. ‘ Why not do this here? All those who have done this are clearly unstable treasonous individuals, at the border,” added Busse, who warns of a rise in right-wing violence in his book, Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America.
In fact, countless rioters carried weapons on January 6, 2021 — they just weren’t caught.
On far-right forums like TheDonald.win, rioters openly conspire to carry mass weapons to avoid being singled out and arrested, NPR reported. Daniel Hodges, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, testify before Congress that the gun recovery unit was “working continuously” and making arrests, but “unfortunately due to the course of events that day, we may never know exactly how many many carry firearms and other lethal weapons.”
Hodges said to washington articles he resists shooting into violent mobs — even when the lives of police officers are in danger — because he knows they are outnumbered and defeated.
The attackers had stored their pistols. Rioters instead relied on electric shocks from high-voltage stun guns, tear gas canisters and flagpoles that double as spears.
But the concern now is that jailed insurgents, emboldened by the belief that they are merely political prisoners, will actually use weapons in a future attack on the U.S. Capitol. States or capitals of different states. (An armed right-wing militia did that with a semi-automatic rifle in Michigan in April 2020.)
Federal prosecutors in Washington, DC, pursuing cases against the insurgents on January 6 have at least one tool at their disposal: felony charges.
It is illegal for any offender to be convicted of possessing a firearm. It was an immediate disqualification during the FBI background check, which is required from every licensed gun store. And getting caught will result in separate crimes for the seller and the buyer.
But only 350 of the 720 defendants to date have been charged with a felony. The rest face misdemeanor charges, so they can still legally own a gun.
Follow the latest data from the George Washington University Extremism Program.
“It is hard to imagine they could bring a felony charge of obstructing all 700 individuals, including a substantial group of them, who just infiltrated the Capitol, took some pictures, then left. It’s serious behavior, but it speaks to the challenge the DOJ is facing,” said Jonathan Lewis, a researcher there.
Lewis, who has closely followed all cases of insurgency, points to a few examples. Brandon Straka, a New York City hairstylist turned activist, face to face crime was dropped after he admit burst into the building and egg on others to tear a police officer’s shield from the policeman’s hand. Jeffrey Witcher, a former U.S. Marine who was so ignorant that he thought he had broken into the White House, was confronted for the first time as well. crime that was reduced after he admit shouted threats at the police in the Capitol, saying, “Don’t be a traitor! Fulfill your constitutional duty, man. Do it or die!”
However, the government may have good reason not to systematically target the rioters on January 6 for felony crimes that would deprive them of their guns. Scott Tenley, a former federal prosecutor in California with extensive experience investigating gun crimes, said it would be unwise for the Justice Department to use these criminal cases as a way to disarm people. . The government has been shot by prominent voices on the right, like the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who minimized the violence that occurred that day.
Besides, Tenley added, it’s not clear whether a felony record actually prevents a segment of the population that has always been thought the rule of law is no longer applicable.
“Hitting them with a felony doesn’t keep them from coming out with a gun. It just makes it illegal,” he told The Daily Beast. “If those 700 people can’t afford to own a gun, that won’t affect the threat of violence in 2024. There are other circumstances that fuel division and make this reoccur even worse. than.”
Those most likely to still face gun bans are the seven rioters who were arrested for actually holding a gun during the attack on the Capitol:
- Samuel Fisher, a New York City pickup artist who was later arrested at his Upper East Side apartment, where he allegedly kept an arsenal of weapons.
- Mark Mazza. short.
- Guy Refitt, a Texas militia member who was accused of threatening to shoot his own children if they crashed into him.
- Christopher Alberts in Maryland, who is said to have carried a pistol – along with a bulletproof vest, bullets, a knife, a gas mask, a first aid kit and a ready-to-eat military meal.
- Mark Ibrahim, an officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, who appeared at the protest while he was on duty and proudly posed for pictures with his badge and gun.
- Lonnie Coffman, an Alabama man in his 70s allegedly drank 11 Molotov cocktails to attack — along with a list of people he classified as “bad guys” and “good guys.”
- Cleveland Meredith, a Georgia man was allegedly arrested with a Glock pistol and Tavor X95 semi-automatic rifle in his Washington, DC hotel room. Police allege he texted someone, “Think of going through Pelosi C*NT’s speech and putting a bullet in her on Live TV.”
And there are others who have yet to be arrested. The Daily Beast recently had contact with Luke Philip Robinson, who appeared to have worn a Sig Sauer pistol strapped to his right hip as he stood on the steps of the Capitol surrounded by rioters. As of this writing, he has yet to be charged with that charge.
But even this list does not show the full range of firepower available to the rioters that day. When the government recently accused the militia of the Oath Keepers of malice – the most serious crimes – the group had stored a large stockpile of weapons and ammunition at a pub. Comfort Inn just a few miles away in Virginia, guarded by a trusted member. Investigators cited text messages in which militias planned to take them via the Potomac to Washington, D.C.
“We could have a Rapid Response Team with heavy weapons on standby, quickly load them and get them across the river in front of our waiting arms,” Thomas Caldwell is said to have texted his teammates four days before the attack.
Lewis, the researcher, notes that the militia’s weapons penetration plan really shows how the District of Columbia’s extremely tight weapons restrictions can reduce the gun threat this time around. Because while the mob is engaged in a blatant attempt to disrupt the peaceful transition of power, the majority of protesters are less willing to engage in blatantly unethical behavior. illegal. It would not be the same if the rioters did the same in other places.
“If anything happens, we are knowing that in 2022 and 2024, when we see groups like the Proud Boys and the widespread anti-government ‘stop stealing’ conspiracy movement, silly has embedded itself. yourself at the state and local level, Lewis said.
And there is some evidence that pro-Trump protesters who have been arrested with guns in the nation’s capital are joking to keep their guns. The Daily Beast reviewed case files for those arrested in Million MAGA in March serves as a prequel to January 6 uprising.
Joshua Skillman and Samantha Falk, a Georgia couple, were arrested at a protest in November 2020 for openly carrying their guns in the District of Columbia. Skillman has got his Taurus G3 9mm. Falk gets her .380 caliber Taurus Spectrum. They told police they were there to support “their president,” the police report said. In the couple’s hotel room nearby, investigators found two more pistols, a magazine and a shotgun that looked like a submachine gun.
When they each pleaded guilty this past September, they were sentenced to term and placed on probation back to their homes. But their attorneys all asked the judge to clarify in court records that the conviction was only a misdemeanor — because it could cause “confusion.” Falk’s attorney, Kevin Oliver, said a previous client ran into this problem when trying to buy a gun later.
“This kind of confusion can be remedied,” wrote Oliver.
The following week, Judge Michael Ryan updated his sentencing order. This time, next to the crime listed as “possession of an unregistered weapon,” it says in parentheses and in bold, “Mild crime.”