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“Tourist” Capitol Rioters Had No Guns? Indictments Show This Is A Lie

Many Congressional Republicans have been working to minimize and downplay the threat posed by Donald Trump’s supporters as they entered the Capitol Building on January 6th. While many face charges for assault with weapons, many of these weapons were makeshift — flag poles and the like. However, official documents connected to the arrest of suspects show that, despite the claims of some elected officials, some of the attackers were indeed carrying firearms.

[Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images]

“There have been things worse than people without any firearms coming into a building,” Louie Gohmert said last week.

However, NBC‘s Scott McFarlane tweeted Monday, exposing the false premise. In fact, not only were rioters armed, some were in possession of firearms, according to the charges.

The indictment (PDF) for Christopher Alberts, one of the hundreds of suspects, includes charges for a firearm on Capitol grounds. Alberts has plead not guilty. The statement of facts from the arresting officer includes the following (edited for length, full statement here as PDF):

“I noticed a man, later identified by his Maryland driver’s license as CHRISTOPHER ALBERTS, to be slow in responding to orders to leave the premises. As I approached ALBERTS from his rear, I noticed a bulge on ALBERTS’ right hip. Based on my training and experience, I recognized the bulge was consistent with that of a hand gun. At the time, ALBERTS was also wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a backpack…At that point, I told two MPD officers next to him that ALBERTS had a firearm on his person. ALBERTS, apparently hearing that, immediately tried to flee, but I was able to detain him with the help of two other officers.”

The statement goes on to say that that the handgun had one round chambered, and that Alberts also had a separate magazine, loaded with 12 rounds, and a gas mask. The charges also include carrying a pistol without a license.

He’s not the only one, either — the statement of facts (PDF) for another suspect, Cleveland Meredith Jr., includes the criminal possession of a firearm in Washington D.C. Though vehicle troubles delayed his arrival, Meredith was arrested January 7th, with two firearms, and text messages on his devices included a boast about having “a s**t ton of 5.56 armor-piercing ammo” and a threat on Nancy Pelosi’s life: “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi [expletive] speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV.”

There’s also Lonnie Coffman. He wasn’t arrested in the Capitol Building, but as he attempted to return to his vehicle, in which law enforcement doing a perimeter sweep (due to a reported explosive device) had already spotted one handgun, a rifle, and multiple loaded magazines, as well as what appeared to be Molotov cocktails and materials. As he was arrested returning to his vehicle, two additional handguns were in his possession, the affidavit (PDF) describes. None of the above were registered to Coffman.

These public records, and others from the Capitol Breach, are all available on a searchable Justice Department database — so the public information therein is entirely accessible to lawmakers, including the clear fact that there were firearms brought to D.C. by Trump’s supporters that day.



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