The National Guard men protecting the Capitol are now armed with lethal weapons

It added that the guards deployed on the Capitol will also carry a protective helmet, gas masks and a Kevlar jacket.

She stressed that the guards are trained to “try everything to calm the situation before having to withdraw and use their weapons” as part of the response to civil unrest.

Johnson said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy approved a request by federal and state authorities for armed guards to support law enforcement to protect the Capitol earlier on Tuesday.

Defense officials and civilian authorities are considering whether to arm up to 15,000 Guards from across the country who are expected to deploy to Washington to respond to violent protests before the inauguration.

Ahead of the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday by a pro-Trump crowd, Mayor Muriel Bowser deliberately sought to limit the military’s role in the city’s response to the planned protests. And she asked the guards deployed at the scene to be unarmed.

But those calculations have changed in recent days as law enforcement has received credible threats from armed militias planning to move to the Capitol in the days leading up to the inauguration on January 20, especially if the House votes to impeach Trump for a second time Wednesday.

“We want our personnel the right to self-defense,” General Daniel Hukanson, head of the National Guard’s office, told reporters on Monday before the decision. “If the senior leadership decides that this is the right position to be in, then that is something we will do.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *