Current News

/

ArcaMax

Police and National Guard brace for attacks in state capitals as FBI warns of ‘armed protests'

Richard Read and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

“We saw a lot of preparation here from DPS and from the National Guard — a show of strength,” Menéndez said.

While some Texas legislators said they were armed and ready to defend themselves, he said the Capitol siege showed how difficult that can be, especially for anyone not trained to respond to such attacks. Menéndez, who’s from San Antonio, noted that Texas has 181 state legislators — nearly as many, he said, as tried to defend the Alamo from Mexican troops in 1836.

“And you know what happened at the Alamo,” he said.

A Michigan state Capitol commission voted this week to ban the open carrying of firearms inside the statehouse in Lansing. People are permitted to enter with concealed guns. Democratic lawmakers have been demanding a complete ban on firearms since last year, when armed protesters challenging the state’s COVID-19 lockdowns stormed the building. Later, 14 men — some of whom had participated in that protest — were arrested in connection with plotting to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan State Police increased their presence around the state Capitol, but Lansing’s mayor asked Whitmer to send in the National Guard. State Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat who’s been threatened at her home by pro-Trump protesters in recent weeks, warned the public on Twitter: “Our state Capitol is not safe.”

Police responded last week to a bomb threat at the Michigan Capitol against a lawmaker who has been critical of Trump. State Rep. Sarah Anthony, a Lansing Democrat, said she had lobbied the state commission for months to ban weapons at the Capitol, and called the new ban on open carry “a half measure.”

 

Anthony said incoming freshmen legislators have been asking: “How do I procure a bulletproof vest? How do I keep myself safe? How do I select my seat on the House floor so that if there’s an emergency, I can leave the building?”

“I never imagined needing a bulletproof vest coming in to work,” she said. “Many of us just feel we are vulnerable in that Capitol building because the tensions are so high.”

Anthony plans to make the first legislation she introduces this week a bill encouraging Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime.

In Georgia, the scene of protests after Trump lost the state and Republicans lost two U.S. Senate races, lawmakers returned to the Capitol in Atlanta on Monday to discover a new iron fence around the building and armed troopers standing guard.

...continued

swipe to next page
©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.