A 36-year-old Missouri man named Jerod Thomas Bargar who brought a loaded handgun to the Capitol and lost it there was arrested Wednesday on a slew of federal criminal charges.
Bargar’s charges center on his possession of that gun while participating in the Trump-incited mob attack intended to thwart the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. Bargar first came under federal scrutiny within weeks of the Capitol violence after a tip came in about things he’d posted to social media indicating he’d participated in the chaos. Bargar insisted to federal agents during an interview on January 18, 2021, that he didn’t do anything illegal, and he didn’t mention the gun, which federal investigators were unaware at the time was his. Investigators determined who owned the gun through a series of interviews, beginning with someone registered as its owner, continuing with an employee at a pawn shop where that individual handed it off, and finishing with Bargar’s stepfather, who indicated he gave Bargar the weapon after purchasing it from the shop.
In a July 13 interview last year, Bargar admitted to bringing the gun with him to the Capitol. A statement of facts associated with his case doesn’t directly outline any resistance he may have shown to admitting such a thing, but he sounds as though he rather freely acknowledged the gun when questioned, because he claimed that he was unaware while in D.C. that he was breaking the law by carrying the handgun in the capital and on federal property. Bargar claimed he lost the gun around the time when he and a friend with him at that point sought to help a woman back to her feet after police began using crowd control measures like tear gas.
Bargar doesn’t appear to have entered the Capitol building, although that doesn’t seem as though it’s because he was particularly concerned by what was happening: in a social media post preserved and available in the statement of facts, Bargar proudly wrote: “There’s patriots and traitors, where do you stand?” Images included in the post show him in D.C. In another post, Bargar included the hashtag “#partofhistory” alongside a selfie in the mob. Bargar’s charges now include two felonies: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm on Capitol grounds or buildings. Bargar is also charged with the unlawful possession, sale, or transfer of any large capacity ammunition feeding device in the District of Columbia because the recovered gun’s magazine held approximately 15 additional rounds beyond the one in the chamber.
Although Trump’s claimed there were no firearms in the mob that descended on the Capitol, that’s — obviously — not true, and it was clear that wasn’t true before Bargar’s charges emerged. “Not a single person in the crowd on January 6 was found to be carrying a firearm. Not one,” Fox host Tucker Carlson claimed on June 10. He was brazenly lying. Even someone who was featured in a Carlson documentary had a gun on grounds around the Capitol building. Guy Reffitt, the Texas man recently sentenced to over seven years in prison for his Capitol riot-related crimes, also carried a gun during his participation in the Capitol violence. A jury convicted him on a charge directly related to it. Relevantly, individuals associated with the extremist group called the Oath Keepers — members of which face related charges of seditious conspiracy — stockpiled weapons nearby in preparation for potential further violence.