Threats of gun violence, protests prompt increased security at CA Capitol

SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- A California state senator received threats of gun violence during a public hearing last week. Now, he's talking to the ABC7 I-Team about the importance of new, intense security at the State Capitol, with the presidential inauguration this week. The FBI is warning about armed protests in Sacramento and statehouses across the country.

From the sentries patrolling the dome to new, 6-foot high fencing surrounding the complex, the State Capitol is locked down. In addition to the enhanced police presence, 1,000 heavily-armed National Guard troops are stationed at the building and at nearby state offices. They waved to drivers, and greeted people on Sunday; the I-Team watched many thank the police and guard for being there.

RELATED: Sacramento police, FBI gear up for potential inauguration protests

"Cal Guard is always going to be respectful of those who want to demonstrate peacefully. So we're hoping it remains that way, hoping for the best-case scenario to happen. And our soldiers are prepared and ready for their mission," explains Lt. Col. Jonathan Shiroma.

This heightened security comes after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and a warning from the FBI that an armed group is planning to storm government offices in all 50 states on Inauguration Day.

Sacramento has been hit by protests each week since the election, some have turned violent. The CHP denied a permit for a 3,000 person pro-Trump rally scheduled for Sunday. Organizer Christine Bish told the I-Team, "It's just better everybody stay away and stay safe and be calm."

WATCH: Trump supporters clash with counter-protesters during rally in Sacramento
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Trump supporters rallied at the state capitol in Sacramento, including several fringe groups -- the Proud boys, the 3-Percenters, and some self-described militias. I-Team Reporter Dan Noyes was in the middle of it.

Now, she is turning her attention fully to gathering signatures to recall Governor Newsom. She said, "This is crunch time. We have over a million signatures. We're almost there. And we're going to recall this governor."

Capitol police are also investigating threats of gun violence by women who oppose COVID-19 vaccinations. The two spoke during public comment at the senate budget hearing this past Thursday.

Commenter 1: "17 million guns were purchased in the United States. What do you think they're gonna do with them?"
Commenter 2: "We didn't buy guns for nothing."
Clerk: "Thank you."
Commenter 2: "We're not taking your shots!"

Vaccine proponent, State Senator from Sacramento Dr. Richard Pan, was the target, and he told us, "Sometimes people say, well, it's just trolls, people are just saying things. But unfortunately, it becomes real life."

The violent right-wing fringe group, the Proud Boys, has been at the center of recent confrontations in Sacramento, but in an interview with ABC's Matt Gutman in Miami, their national chairman is telling members not to attend any Inauguration Day protests.

VIDEO: Social media videos show chaos, violence on frontlines of US Capitol clashes
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Chaos and violence: Social media videos capture clashes between Pro-Trump supporters and police on the frontlines of the U.S Capitol.

"I think we could be a lot smarter, a lot more effective. We could run a lot more lean-- and get our message across-- in much more creative and-- intelligent ways," said Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio.

Dan Noyes reports, "That message is reaching local Proud Boys. The leadership of the Central Valley chapter tells me, none of its members will be here on Wednesday, and they are spreading the same word to other patriot groups."

But the violent left-wing fringe is calling for a large turnout, from the Antifa Sacramento Twitter account. Anti-fascist sources tell me they expect supporters to travel from throughout the state Wednesday. Violent fights erupted between Antifa and Trump supporters, the last time anti-fascists called for a major response.

Many questions up in the air. You have to wonder if groups will see that security presence and stay away from the Capitol, or if we could see more violent outbreaks.

For a look at more stories and videos by the ABC7 News I-Team go here.
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