by: Liam Edgar
As a brewing controversy over gun rights shows, it’s just as difficult to bring a little heartland thinking to the nation’s capital.
On Election Day Republican Lauren Boebert won a congressional seat representing western Colorado. She is a staunch advocate of gun rights. Not only does she tote a Glock, but Boebert also owns what the local media describes as a “gun-themed” restaurant in a town called, appropriately enough, Rifle.
After her election, Boebert asked the U.S. Capitol Police if she could carry her weapon to work. In one of those perks for politicians that are denied to hoi polloi, congressional rules dating to 1967 permit lawmakers to carry guns under certain circumstances – even though the practice is banned elsewhere in Washington.
Boebert’s request would not raise eyebrows in most of America.
According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Illinois and South Carolina are the only places that prohibit open carry of firearms in all circumstances.
Meanwhile, all 50 states plus D.C. have laws that permit carrying concealed weapons in some form.
But recently The Hill reported that 21 liberal Democrats, led by California Rep. Jared Huffman, were pushing House leaders to shoot down Boebert’s request, and ban firearms in the Capitol.
In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, they noted that lawmakers’ offices “are open to staff, visitors, and the general public, and a firearm that is not secured could easily end up in the wrong hands.”
Additionally, they wrote, the “total lack of uniformity and procedure surrounding Members of Congress carrying firearms … fosters an environment where Members may unwittingly be putting themselves and others in danger.”
“Ultimately,” they argued, “the current regulations create needless risk for Members of Congress, their staff, members of the Capitol Police, and visitors to the Capitol grounds.”
Therefore, they urged Pelosi and McCarthy to add “this commonsense protection” in the package of rules the House will adopt for next year. Those rules will be considered on Jan. 3.
Besides Huffman, the Democrats who signed the letter include Reps. Robin Kelly of Illinois; Jackie Speier, California; Salud Carbajal, California; Sean Casten, Illinois; Carolyn Maloney, New York; David Cicilline, Rhode Island; André Carson, Indiana; Mike Quigley, Illinois; Mark Takano, California; Veronica Escobar, Texas; Nanette Diaz Barragán, California; Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia; Jan Schakowsky, Illinois; Don Beyer, Virginia; Pramila Jayapal, Washington state; Grace Meng, New York; David Price, North Carolina; Daniel Kildee, Michigan; Jahana Hayes, Connecticut; and Raúl Grijalva, Arizona.