Capitol riot suspect accused of threatening to shoot family if they turned him in faces firearms charge over 6 January

The man claimed it was his constitutional right to try to take over Congress

Graig Graziosi
Friday 18 June 2021 17:38
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A suspected Capitol insurrectionist will face firearms charges under a law outlawing the use of guns during a riot.

Guy Wesley Reffitt, of Texas, an alleged participant in the Capitol riot, was arrested in January.

In addition to his alleged involvement on 6 January, his wife reported him to the FBI after she said he threatened to shoot her and their family if any of them turned him in for going to the Capitol on the day Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

Mr Reffitt was charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and obstruction of justice by hindering communication through physical force or threat of physical force.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In addition to those charges, he was also given a firearm charge for bringing a gun to the Capitol.

According to the indictment, Mr Reffitt "without lawful authority to do so, and during and in relation to the offense, did use and carry a deadly and dangerous weapon and firearm, that is, a semi-automatic handgun”.

Prosecutors noted video footage capturing Mr Reffitt at the Capitol, and further argued in a court document that Mr Reffitt allegedly admitted to having his gun. He defended bringing it to the Capitol, stating it was his constitutional right to do so and "take over the Congress”.

More than 450 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riot, and more arrests are likely.

Prosecutors are also working to bring conspiracy charges against extremist right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and potentially the Three Percenter Militia, whose members have been accused of coordinating their attacks before the riot.

At least three other rioters are facing gun charges, but rather than being charged under riot laws, like Mr Reffitt, they are being charged for illegally owning weapons or owning illegal weapons. Mr Reffitt's gun was a legal weapon, but he carried it to a riot in a protected federal building.

One of the other rioters facing gun charges is Lonnie Coffman from Alabama, who brought a truck full of guns, Molotov cocktails and hundreds of rounds of ammunition to Washington DC. He also had a list full of "good guys" and "bad guys”, as well as contact information for one of Senator Ted Cruz's offices.

GOP lawmakers have been gradually offering fewer condemnations of the insurrectionists, with some – like Republican Senator Ron Johnson – calling them "peaceful protesters”.

Senate Republicans also managed to block an investigative commission into the riot, and 21 GOP members of the House of Representatives voted not to award medals to the Capitol police officers who were attacked by Donald Trump's supporters that day.

The list of Republicans who voted against giving the medals is essentially the same as the list of Republicans who have been accused of helping foment the insurrection in the first place.

Trump imitators like Reps Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz were among the group, as well as Reps Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, who the organizer of the "Stop the Steal" rally claims helped facilitate the event that immediately preceded the riot.

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