The Pentagon announced that the National Guard troops being deployed to Washington, D.C. will be armed. Up to 15,000 National Guard troops from around the country are expected to be on hand to help provide security leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
Federal authorities filed a request to arm the National Guard, and the decision was authorized by Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.
Officials are concerned about the potential for violence as more than a dozen groups supporting President Donald Trump are planning to stage protests in Washington, D.C., during the next week. Some of those groups have promised to show up with guns, and officials are preparing every possible scenario, including armed clashes with protesters.
"National Guard members are postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities, up to and including protective equipment and being armed if necessary," Captain Chelsi Johnson, spokesperson for the D.C. National Guard said in a statement.
On Tuesday (January 12) night, National Guard troops stationed around the U.S. Capitol building were seen carrying rifles as they provided security. The Capitol is on high alert as the House of Representatives holds a debate on whether to impeach President Trump for a second time.
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