The guards deployed to the Capitol will also wear a protective helmet, gas masks and Kevlar body armor, she said.
She stressed that guard members are trained to “try everything to de-escalate a situation before pulling their weapon and using it” as part of the response to civilian disruption.
Secretary of State Ryan McCarthy approved federal and local government requests for armed guards to support law enforcement protecting the Capitol earlier on Tuesday, Johnson said.
Defense officials and civilian authorities have considered whether to arm up to 1
Ahead of Wednesday’s storm of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser deliberately sought to limit the military’s role in the city’s response to planned protests. She requested that the guards sent to the scene not be armed.
But that calculation changed in recent days as law enforcement received credible threats about armed militias planning to move on the Capitol in the days leading up to the January 20 inauguration, especially if Parliament votes to charge Trump for the second time on Wednesday.
“We want our individuals to have the right to self-defense,” General Daniel Hokanson, head of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters Monday ahead of the decision. “If senior management decides it’s the right position to be in, it’s something we want to do.”