As if we Americans needed more evidence of the rules are for thee and not for me when it comes to our “elected” representatives, a story surfaced this week that puts the practice into crystal clear perspective.
Incoming freshman Republican from Colorado, Lauren Boebert, who primaried Rep. Scott Tipton for the GOP nomination in her district, is known for open carrying a Glock. This week she asked Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill, what the policy is for lawmakers wanting to carry their own weapons.
As it happens, thanks to a decades-old law, congress critters may carry personal firearms while in the Capitol building.
Civilian visitors to the Capitol may not.
A 1967 regulation says no federal or District of Columbia laws restricting firearms “shall prohibit any Member of Congress from maintaining firearms within the confines of his office” or “from transporting within Capitol grounds firearms unloaded and securely wrapped.”
Lawmakers may not bring weapons into the House chamber and other nearby areas, the regulations say, according to a letter Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., wrote in 2018. Aides can carry lawmakers’ weapons for them on the Capitol complex, he wrote.
When asked how many lawmakers do carry weapons on Capitol Hill, the Capitol Police claim not to know.
“There is no standing requirement” that lawmakers notify them when they carry a firearm in the Capitol, the officials wrote. Regulations require safe storage of weapons, but “that responsibility resides with the Member,” they said.
There are also no requirements for members of Congress to go through any security checkpoints in the building itself.
As it happens, many lawmakers are more than content with the law as it stands.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., chairman of the House Second Amendment Caucus, justified letting lawmakers carry weapons. He cited the 2017 shooting spree when a gunman wounded Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and four other people as they practiced baseball in nearby Alexandria, Virginia.
“As soon as you leave the Capitol property, you are a target,” Massie said.
And defending oneself is a right we all have in this country. Even lawmakers.
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