Violent domestic extremism is on the rise and firearms are a pillar of this extremist ideology. A March 2021 assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found that domestic violent extremists motivated by white supremacy and anti-government ideology are the most lethal threats facing this country.
Guns are the weapon of choice for domestic extremists, and easy access to guns plays a significant role in the frequency and lethality of these attacks. The January 6 insurrection on the Capitol Building by Trump supporters, militia groups, and right-wing extremists—some of whom were armed—was the result of anti-government propaganda and right-wing messaging suggesting that the election of President Joe Biden was fraudulent. This anti-government rhetoric and the dangerous attacks that result do not exist in a vacuum. For years, right-wing extremists have used this ideology as a basis for their dangerous attacks, such as the Bundy standoff in 2014 that led to hundreds of anti-government extremists taking up arms against federal agents. Then, just this year, an 18-year-old white supremacist used an AR-15 to shoot and kill 10 Black people and injured an additional 3 people in a Buffalo supermarket.
In order to address the rise in domestic extremism, Congress and the administration must do more to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous and radicalized individuals.
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- North America / United States
- Copyright 2022 by Center for American Progress. All rights reserved.
- What to read next
- Beyond Measure: Gun Violence Trauma
- Gun Violence and Mass Shootings
- Public Attitudes Towards the Regulation of Firearms
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