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State capitals nationwide bracing for possible violence in wake of attack on U.S. Capitol

States securing capitols amid threats of protests
States race to secure capitols amid threats of armed protests 01:48

In Madison, Wisconsin, some windows at the Capitol are boarded up. In Phoenix, there is fencing surrounding the Arizona Capitol. Multiple states have activated or are planning to activate National Guard members. 

America's capital cities are bracing for possible unrest after last week's assault on the United States Capitol. 

The FBI is warning law enforcement across the country that groups are calling for the "storming" of federal, state and local courthouses in all 50 states if President Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day on January 20, a law enforcement source told CBS News.

Investigators are also following leads in more than 30 states related to last week's attack and next week's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, federal law enforcement sources told CBS News. California, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas are among those states. On the opening day of the Texas legislative session on Tuesday, there was a heavy presence of law enforcement in Austin. 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an order on Tuesday to bring 580 Ohio National Guard soldiers and airmen into active duty. The members are available for use in Washington, D.C. and Ohio.  

"People have the right to protest. They do not have the right to be destructive. They do not have the right to hurt other people," DeWine told reporters on Tuesday. "The First Amendment does not go on vacation, but we also saw what happened at the U.S. Capitol and we're very concerned."

In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz said Tuesday that he plans to sign an executive order to activate the National Guard.

On Monday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said that members of the Wisconsin National Guard were authorized to support Wisconsin Capitol Police to "support safety and security efforts at the State Capitol in Madison."

Capitol Breach Wisconsin
Workers begin boarding up the Wisconsin state Capitol building in Madison on January 11, 2021. State officials are concerned about the prospects of state-centered violence in the wake of last week's security breaches at the U.S. Capitol. Todd Richmond / AP

Workers were boarding up the ground floor windows at the Capitol in Madison as a "proactive precautionary measure," according to CBS Madison affiliate WISC

Daniel Riemer, a Democratic Wisconsin state representative from Milwaukee, said it was "incredibly saddening" to see the boarded up windows at the Capitol. He commended law enforcement for working to keep people safe but admitted he still worries about what may happen.

"There is that part of that part of the back of your mind where you say, 'what's coming our way either on the 20th or some other day?'" Riemer said.

Andy Schor, the mayor in Michigan's capital city of Lansing, has requested that Governor Gretchen Whitmer activate the Michigan National Guard to provide additional security in the state. The mayor specifically requested assistance on January 17 and 20. 

"While we certainly want to make sure that visitors are able to exercise their First Amendment rights, we must also prevent any violence and guarantee the personal safety and property of those that work and live in downtown Lansing," Schor wrote in a letter to Whitmer.

On Wednesday, Whitmer said that she has had conversations with Schor. "Threats will not be taken lightly," she told reporters and said state police are coordinating with the National Guard on security.

Schor's request came a day after the commission that oversees the state Capitol banned openly carrying firearms inside of the building. Democrats have been calling for the ban since heavily armed protesters entered the Senate gallery in April while the Legislature was considering whether to extend Michigan's COVID-19 restrictions

The commission's vice-chair, John Truscott, said the group was planning to address the issue later this month, but moved up the vote because of last week's riot. Truscott said a six-foot high fence will be placed around the Capitol on Friday. Windows won't be boarded up, but plywood will be available if needed. 

Whitmer said the open carry ban was a "good first step," but she called for a ban on all firearms in the state Capitol. 

Wisconsin allows the concealed carrying of firearms in the Capitol. Evers and the Republican leaders in the Legislature did not respond to questions about whether they support banning all weapons. 

Law enforcement officials in Arizona and Pennsylvania, two states whose Electoral College votes drew objections from congressional Republicans last week, are also stepping up security measures. 

Hundreds of Mr. Trump's supporters protested at the Arizona Capitol last week, on the same day the crowd in Washington stormed into Congress to disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes, CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO reported.   

A spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety said fences have since been  set up outside of the state Capitol complex "out of an abundance of caution" and that security procedures at the Capitol were "previously enhanced, not for one specific event, but to ensure the safety of the public." 

Since the riot at the U.S. Capitol, the Pennsylvania Capitol Police has been working to protect the complex in Harrisburg. "The PA Capitol Police is enhancing its visible presence and will continue to collaborate with other law enforcement entities," Troy Thompson, a spokesman for the agency that oversees the Pennsylvania Capitol Police, told The Associated Press

Mr. Trump directed much of his post-election anger at Republican officials in Georgia. During the attack at the U.S. Capitol, a group of protesters showed up at the Georgia statehouse and Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office had to evacuate. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp told reporters on Tuesday that threat levels to the Capitol "seem to be very low at this time" but the state is "taking nothing for granted."

"Let me be clear: Law-breaking like we saw last week will not be tolerated here. Period," Kemp said. 

Jeff Pegues, Pat Milton and Costanza Maio contributed reporting

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