January 3, 2022 

Adam Peck, West End Strategy Team; 202.531.6408

New Report: Armed Insurrectionism Threatens Democracy: We Must Act Now 

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence warns that the combination of guns and insurrectionist beliefs invites escalating acts of violence and erodes our political system

WASHINGTON — Today, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (ESGV) issued a report with five policy recommendations that states must implement immediately in order to protect democracy in the face of a growing armed insurrectionist movement. The insurrection at the Capitol last January 6th was the loudest expression of a continuing effort by armed insurrectionists to upend government policy through political violence and intimidation. The report offers new insight and analysis and serves as both an examination and a warning that, if left unaddressed, armed insurrectionism will continue to pose a threat to the country. It also examines the significant overlap between insurrectionist activity and white supremacism and the deadly combination of guns and hate.

“The mainstreaming of insurrectionist beliefs combined with more guns in political spaces poses existential risks to our democracy,” said Tim Carey, Law and Policy Staff Attorney at EFSGV and one of the lead authors of the study. “Insurrectionist beliefs are reckless and contradict legal precedent and Constitutional law. Adding firearms to the mix creates even greater risk to democratic freedoms and our way of life. The good news is we have effective policies that have strong support from the American people and are ready for lawmakers who are serious about addressing this crisis and making us all safer.”

Among the policy recommendations outlined by the report are new and expanded regulations governing the public carry of firearms; strengthening existing laws or increasing the enforcement mechanisms of current laws in order to prohibit and impede paramilitary activity; limiting guns in locations essential to political participation; and repealing or creating exceptions for firearm preemption laws to give local governments the ability to create policies to address risks of insurrectionism in their jurisdictions.

The report makes clear that neither the First nor Second Amendments protect a right to armed insurrection, and also outlines how public carry of firearms is not a protected expression of speech. It also condemns any suggestion that violence, threats of violence, or intimidation have any place in our political discourse. 

The report traces modern insurrectionist movements back three decades to the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City. It also examines the role of guns in political demonstrations at the state level, including armed demonstrations in Michigan and deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

EFSGV Executive Director Josh Horwitz has long predicted the rise in violent insurrectionist activity, originally sounding the alarm on the threat guns pose to our democratic freedoms in his 2009 book Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea


About the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) affiliate organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. EFSGV uses a public health and equity lens to identify and implement evidence-based policy solutions and programs to reduce gun violence in all its forms and to make gun violence rare and abnormal. EFSGV is the gun violence prevention movement’s premier research intermediary and founder of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a group of academics and practitioners who collaborate to develop innovative recommendations for policymakers.