Amid the endorsement of some Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, for harassing Trump administration officials, some pundits and intellectuals say it is now time for White House staff to arm themselves against possible physical violence.
Though Waters has since clarified that she never intended to imply she supports violence against anyone, her comments combined with several recent anecdotes involved members of the administration have sparked concern among many on the right.
John F. Banzhaf III, professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School, said that some prominent figures “might want to consider applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon” in D.C. and other states in which they spend significant amounts of time.
His advice came after what he described as “the call by Rep. Maxine Waters for the public to ‘absolutely harass’ these officials in public places, and other recent events indicating the increased danger they are in.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was denied service at a D.C.-area restaurant last week, marking the latest in a series of public attempts to shame high-level officials and cabinet members in the Trump administration.
Citing a concern that such demonstrations could turn physical, as well as the fact that obtaining a gun permit in D.C. is more difficult than in much of the rest of the country, Banzhaf suggested Trump officials should begin the process posthaste.
“Since the application process, including a detailed background check, can reportedly take some time, they may wish to begin the process now,” he said. “That way, if and when they decide that they should carry a small firearm to protect themselves and/or their families, they will be able to do so.”
He stipulated that it should “always be their own choice” whether to carry a firearm, though some other commentators took a more holistic approach to the advice.
Actor James Woods did not distinguish which individuals he felt should obtain guns in opposition to Waters’ rhetoric.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) June 25, 2018
“Buy guns. Vote,” he tweeted. “Violence is the next stop on the #MadMaxine slippery slope. We WILL fight back.”
Crime Prevention Research Center President John R. Lott Jr. made a familiar pro-gun argument for arming those in the Trump administration who might be targeted by political protest.
“There are simply not enough police in D.C. or Virginia or Maryland to protect all Trump officials at their homes and when they go out to restaurants,” he said. “Getting a concealed handgun permit would be helpful to protect themselves and their family.”
Axios political writer Jonathan V. Swan tweeted that we are “probably not too far from the point where recognizable Trump administration officials will need 24/7 security.”
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