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NAT’L – GUN RIGHTS – Gun culture, if not guns, fueled U.S. Capitol siege 

Comb through the photos and videos of the protest in Washington D.C. and the siege of the U.S. Capitol last week, listen to the voices on the scene, read the signs and the messages on social media sites. You’ll find a lot of gun culture. You’ll find people angry at the thought, let along actual efforts, of gun-control laws such as bans of semi-automatic, military-style “black” rifles and universal background checks. You’ll hear people lining up behind soon-to-be-ex-President Donald Trump in part over his support for gun rights. You’ll see calls for armed protest and in extreme cases, armed rebellion. What you didn’t see much of on Jan. 6 were actual firearms. There were only a tiny handful of arrests for illegal possession of guns as investigations continue. The mob raid on the Capitol complex, which led to both chambers of Congress locking down for hours, was a siege by bully clubs, not, thankfully, firearms — or more than five people would have died. And yet, guns and the pro-Trump protest live in the same place in our minds, not incorrectly, for several reasons. Gun rights stand as one of the central issues of the right-wing “freedom” movement that led to the siege. Guns are part of the imagery of the movement, part of the language. “Come armed at your own discretion,” said one online poster for a series of rallies this weekend, which the FBI flagged on Sunday in a warning to police in all 50 state capitals. Culturally, it’s like the message at a baseball game: Have a beer.  [full article]

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