Guns and Insurrection

Tucker Carlson proclaimed that January 6, 2022, was not an insurrection because insurrectionists must be carrying guns. Apparently there is no reason to limit yourself to making up facts. Might as well create your own language and create your own definitions as well.

Two of my most easily accessible dictionaries define insurrection almost identically: “an act or instance of revolting against civil authority”; “an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.” A third, however, does mention weapons and defines an insurrection as “an act of rising in arms or open resistance against civil or established authority.” But that “or” bears notice. An insurrection can be armed, but open resistance, with or without guns, against civil authority is an insurrection. Let’s be clear: January 6 was an insurrection. Aldous Huxley had it right: “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Underlying Carlson’s inanity, however, is an important observation. The January 6 insurrectionists were not openly armed, and it is here that more attention and respect should be paid to the gun safety laws in the District of Columbia. In the nation’s capital, firearms must be licensed and registered. Concealed carry requires a special license. Assault weapons are illegal. Extended magazines are illegal. Neither long guns nor handguns may be openly carried.

No doubt January 6 insurrectionists were aware of these restrictions. If they had openly carried guns as they went to hear Trump’s rants and to the Capitol, they could have expected that they would have been stopped by the police long before the Capitol was invaded. If they had openly carried their firearms, they might not have been able to commit their insurrection.

Imagine, however, if the law had allowed them to move about Washington openly carrying the weapons as they could have in many places in the United States. What do you think would have happened that day? What might the death toll have been?

In considering the events of January 6, we should be considering that the gun safety laws of Washington in all likelihood prevented deaths. In short, gun safety laws matter.

It is expected, however, that shortly the Supreme Court will render a decision creating a new right for people to carry guns into public spaces. The District of Columbia will no longer have its gun safety laws that prevented the open carrying of firearms. If that prediction turns out to be right, what will the next attempt to overthrow an election be like?