What To Know Today

“If D.C. was a gun-friendly city, this could have been much worse.” So noted The Informant’s Nick Martin as he took in the sacking of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. While that chilling observation adds to our collective terror, the facts still emerging illuminate just how dangerous the mob was. And other reporting points to the continuing threat posed by armed political extremists.  

  • Federal prosecutors charged 15 people, including at least two for gun-related crimes. One man was arrested outside the Capitol carrying a semiautomatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails, while another was detained for wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a loaded handgun and two 12-round magazines. More charges are expected. Capitol Police also confirmed that suspected IEDs found near the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican National Committees were active explosives that could have inflicted “great harm.”
  • Another 40 people face criminal charges in D.C. Superior Court and D.C police arrested a total of six people on gun charges.
  • Far-right social media posts threaten more D.C. violence. Parler users said insurrectionists would return to the city with weapons on January 19, the day before Biden’s inauguration. And a flyer circulating online called for armed marches in D.C. and all 50 state capitols on January 17.

A Capitol Police officer has died of injuries sustained while confronting the mob. The death of the 12-year-veteran of the force is the fifth related to Wednesday’s events. District police have opened a homicide investigation.

“We had enough people, we could have tore that building down brick by brick.” The rioters, in their own words.The neo-Nazi leaders and conspiracy peddlers among them. The Daily Beast has names. Rumors that off-duty cops took part in the insurrection.  An officer with the D.C Police Department wrote on Facebook that out-of-uniform law enforcement officers and members of the military were among those who stormed the Capitol, Politico reports

Discredited gun researcher joins the efforts to shift blame. John Lott, the Department of Justice employee whose dubious Second Amendment advocacy we’ve extensively covered, posted a debunked Washington Times article falsely claiming that a facial recognition company had identified antifa protesters among the Capitol mob. 

A sign of the times: New Hampshire’s GOP governor forgoes official inauguration because of armed protests. Anti-lockdown demonstrators have gathered at Governor Chris Sununu’s home for weeks, which led him to conclude that a public ceremony “simply brings too much risk.” He was sworn in yesterday as protesters gathered outside the State House.

An eerily prescient warning. “On January 6, armed Trumpist militias will be rallying in DC, at Trump’s orders. It’s highly likely that they’ll try to storm the Capitol after it certifies Joe Biden’s win. I don’t think this has sunk in yet.” That was written on December 21, part of a Twitter thread from political analyst Arieh Kovler. He went on to warn that people could die and that law enforcement could be ill-prepared for the day.

The NRA’s losing bet in Georgia. The National Rifle Association’s $5 million direct outlay on the unsuccessful campaigns of Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue was five times larger than its second biggest expenditure on House or Senate races in the 2020 election cycle — a reflection of the stakes at play in a pair of races that drew a staggering $830 million in total spending. With Democrats gaining control of the Senate, the incoming Biden administration has far greater leeway on confirming cabinet picks and more legislative options for pursuing its gun violence prevention agenda.

Data Point

45 percent — the share of Republican voters who said they supported pro-Trump insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol to protest certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. [YouGov poll]