Stanford Law’s Shirin Sinnar on the Attack on the U.S. Capitol and Ongoing Threats of Political Violence and Hate Groups

Stanford Law’s Shirin Sinnar on the Attack on the U.S. Capitol and Ongoing Threats of Political Violence and Hate Groups

After the attack of the Capital of January 6, questions have been raised about guns, militias, and hate groups. Here, Stanford Law Professor John Donohue discusses gun laws in the U.S. and the potential for armed insurrection. Can guns be carried in D.C.—and on Capitol Hill? D.C. does issue permits to carry guns, but it regulates them far more than some states do. Private citizens are not free to carry guns at the Capitol under any circumstances. The gun lobby has pushed for national legislation that would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit from any state to lawfully carry throughout the United States. That law has not passed, and DC’s restrictions meant that gunowners who travelled to DC for the Trump protest — including the Proud Boys and members of armed militias — knew that gun carrying would invite police scrutiny, so they largely left them at home. In other words, DC’s strict gun laws were extremely beneficial in reducing the risk of death in the DC insurrection. Did the attack on January 6 debunk some gun advocate positions? The gun lobby spreads the false message that having a gun will confer enormous protective benefits, instead of recognizing that opportunities for defense with a gun are often limited by the very nature of criminal attack and having a gun can also elevate risks. D.C. police officer Michael Fanone was overwhelmed by the crowd during the Jan. 6 attack. Fanone stated that he could have killed two or three […]

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