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Court documents, video evidence and news coverage show that several defendants present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, had firearms — and dozens more wielded knives, bats and other real and makeshift weapons.
"Just to be clear on terms, an insurrection is when people with guns try to overthrow the government," Carlson said during his June 10 segment. "Not a single person in the crowd on January 6 was found to be carrying a firearm. Not one," Carslon said.
That’s wrong. Court documents, video evidence and news coverage directly contradict this characterization. Several rioters had firearms and dozens more wielded knives, bats and other real and makeshift weapons.
We reached out to Carlson for comment but did not hear back.
PolitiFact reviewed the case files for hundreds of defendants who were arrested and charged for their actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and found several defendants who police say were found to have brought firearms. Some were charged with having firearms on Capitol grounds while others stashed them nearby:
Lonnie Coffman of Alabama was found with multiple weapons in his vehicle and on his person. Coffman’s truck, which he had parked in the vicinity of the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6, was packed with weaponry, including a handgun, a rifle and a shotgun, each loaded, according to court documents. Also, the truck held hundreds of rounds of ammunition, several large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, a crossbow with bolts, machetes, camouflage smoke devices, a stun gun and 11 Molotov cocktails. When Coffman was detained, questioned and searched, police found two more handguns on his person. None of the weapons were registered, documents state. Coffman pleaded guilty and was sentenced in April to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Guy Reffitt of Texas was charged with bringing a handgun onto Capitol grounds. Court documents showed that Reffitt, reported to be a member of the Three Percenters militia group, told his family he brought his gun with him and that he and others "stormed the Capitol." A jury found Reffitt guilty of five felony charges in March, and he remains detained pending sentencing.
Christopher Michael Alberts of Maryland also brought his handgun onto Capitol grounds. An officer saw that Alberts had a gun on his hip and alerted fellow officers. When Alberts tried to flee, officers detained him and recovered the loaded handgun, along with a separate magazine. He has been indicted on ten felony counts.
In his conspiratorial documentary series "Patriot Purge," Carlson featured Mark Ibrahim, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, and falsely claimed that Ibrahim was forced from his job and indicted for simply being near the Capitol protest.
But court documents show that Ibrahim had already submitted his intent to resign from the DEA weeks before Jan. 6 and was indicted because he brought a gun with him onto Capitol grounds and made false statements to federal agents.
The number of people who carried firearms with them that day may not ever be fully accounted for because the majority of those involved in the siege weren’t arrested on-site but were tracked down by law enforcement days, weeks and months later.
It’s also important to note that an insurrection is a violent uprising against the government, and the definition of "armed" is not legally limited to guns; it refers to any weapon used for defense or offense and as a means of protection. Other items used as weapons on Jan. 6 included bats, crutches, flagpoles, skateboards, fire extinguishers and chemical sprays.
Carlson claimed that no one in the crowd on Jan. 6 was found with a firearm.
That’s inaccurate. Many of those involved in the attack were armed, and several had guns that police later seized.
We rate his claim False.
PolitiFact reporter Bill McCarthy contributed to this report.
Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, June 10, 2022
PolitiFact, Jan. 6 defendants were armed with guns, other weapons, documents show, July 13, 2021
PolitiFact, Carlson's Jan. 6 documentary doesn’t tell full story about former DEA agent, Nov. 2, 2021
Court Listener, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. LONNIE LEROY COFFMAN, Jan. 12, 2021
U.S. Department of Justice, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. GUY WESLEY REFFITT, Jan. 16, 2021
U.S. Department of Justice, Christopher Albert STATEMENT OF FACTS, Jan. 7, 2021
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