What To Know Today
Michigan votes to ban openly carried guns in state Capitol. The Michigan State Capitol Commission, a six-member panel of political appointees that serves as a caretaker for the Capitol and its grounds, came to the unanimous decision on Monday. (The meeting was moved up by two weeks because of the U.S. Capitol siege.) The ban does not prohibit people with concealed carry permits from bringing guns into the building, however, and no metal detectors will be installed. The commission’s Republican leader said the panel would need an appropriation from the Legislature to pay for the “equipment, personnel or budget” necessary for a concealed weapons ban. Democratic lawmakers, who had recently intensified a monthslong push for a gun ban amid GOP resistance, praised the move but reiterated calls for a full ban. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was the subject of an alleged kidnapping plot last October, said the measure was “a good start, but more action is needed.” State Senator Dayna Polehanki said in a statement that “anything less [than a full gun ban] is an abdication of the Commission’s responsibility.” As she told us last week, “I can just as easily be killed by a concealed weapon.” Since armed protesters thronged the state Capitol in April, the commission has repeatedly punted on a decision to ban firearms. An expansive look on the status of guns at all 50 state capitols. A total of 18 states allow members of the public to carry guns in some form — openly or concealed, or both — into statehouses, according to a new investigation by Michigan Advance. — Jennifer Mascia, news writer
The FBI echoes warnings about armed protests, threats across the country next week. “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” reads a bulletin from the bureau obtained by ABC News. HuffPost reported that Capitol Police had also briefed House Democratic lawmakers on additional threats. Authorities take public safety steps: In Washington, D.C., the National Guard will bolster its numbers to at least 10,000 soldiers by Saturday and up to 15,000 by next week’s inauguration; the National Parks Service shut down access to the Washington Monument until January 24 and left open the possibility of further restrictions; and area leaders urged people to stay away from inauguration.
A “demoralized” Capitol Police reckons with officers in crisis after last week’s siege. In addition to the officer killed by rioters, another officer died in an apparent suicide over the weekend. CBS News cites sources who said that other members of the Capitol Police had threatened to harm themselves in recent days; in one case, an officer reportedly turned in her service weapon for safety. On the other side of the coin: Two officers with the department were suspended and at least 10 more were under investigation for their roles in the riot.
Leading gun forum says it was kicked off its domain service. AR15.com, a popular firearms site, said in a statement that the site’s registrar had claimed a terms of service violation. “GoDaddy shut down the domain without cause. They said we are allowing illegal activities here, which is not true,” an AR15.com site administrator said separately. Reached by email, a GoDaddy spokesperson told us: “In response to content complaints on the ar15.com website, our team investigated and discovered content on the site that both promotes and encourages violence. As a result, we informed the site yesterday that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another registrar, as they have violated our terms of service.” On Saturday, a site administrator warned the forum’s users against posting violent threats: “With the events of Jan 6th, we have had to take action against posts which skirt, or cross the lines. Specifically things which discuss violence against fellow Americans. I want to be clear to folks that this is not acceptable.” AR15.com is owned by a holding company overseen by Pete Brownell, a former National Rifle Association president who resigned from the group’s board in 2019. AR15.com set up a backup URL and said it had found a new registrar to host the original web address going forward.
Who we’re reading on extremism. Much of the reporting we’ve been following since the Capitol siege goes far beyond our more narrow purview of guns and gun violence. While there are many new entrants to the extremist beat this week, here are some of the reporters and analysts we recommend following:
- Lois Beckett, The Guardian
- Will Carless, USAToday
- Tess Owen and Joshua Hersh, Vice News
- Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, NBC News
- Will Sommer, The Daily Beast
- Christopher Mathias, HuffPost
- Robert Evans, Bellingcat
- Nick Martin, The Informant
- Leah Sotille, freelance journalist
- Jason Wilson, freelance journalist and Guardian contributor
- Seamus Hughes, George Washington University
- JJ MacNab, George Washington University
- Megan Squire, Elon University
- Jared Holt, Digital Forensic Research Lab
At least 45 — the number of events organized against the 2020 election results in 32 states on January 6. [Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights]