While the public is barred from carrying weapons in the Capitol, its grounds, and office buildings, decades-old congressional regulations allow lawmakers to pack heat. Lawmakers do not go through security scanners to get into the Capitol.
In light of these rules, recently elected Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, 33, a fervent gun-rights activist and Trump-supporter from Colorado, expects those rules will allow her to carry her signature Glock pistol at the Capitol.
According to the Daily Mail, two congressional officials said Boebert asked Capitol Police officials about carrying her weapon at a recent House orientation for Congressional freshmen. Her office confirmed that she asked the Capitol Police about the issue. Boebert, who runs Shooters Grill, a gun-themed restaurant in the aptly named Rifle, Colorado was elected after gaining notice as a pro-gun rights activist who straps a Glock to her hip.
If she ends up carrying her pistol at the Capitol, she won’t be alone. Other lawmakers reportedly carry weapons as well, though they are not required to inform the Capitol Police if they’re doing so. The Daily Mail wrote that the Capitol Police “did not respond to a reporter’s questions about the department´s communications with Boebert and the number of lawmakers who carry firearms.” The Mail added:
The agency’s officials did not answer directly when Democrats on the House Committee on Administration asked in 2018 how many lawmakers carry firearms in the Capitol. The officials said in a written response that they’ve ‘been made aware’ of inquiries about carrying weapons.
‘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.
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.’
The regulations do prohibit lawmakers from bringing weapons into the House chamber and other nearby areas, though there are no checks. According to a 2018 letter from gun opponent Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif. to the House Sergeant at Arms, reported the Mail, aides can also carry lawmakers´ weapons for them on the Capitol complex. Huffman said members and their staff carry firearms around the Capitol ‘all the time,’ without mentioning names.
“Members could have a loaded AK47 sitting on their desk and no one would ever do anything about it,” Huffman said.
The Daily Mail noted that Huffman abandoned his 2018 effort to halt the practice due to strong opposition from his congressional colleagues and later said that he wouldn’t try again this year due to continued strong resistance from congressional members.
It appears that the new, gun-toting Congresswoman from Colorado will be in good company in the Capitol.