The new Congress has been in session for six days now, and besides certifying the election, one issue that has grabbed significant attention is whether our esteemed lawmakers should carry guns in the halls of Congress.
Freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, was the impetus for this. The House has debated, and then agreed to keep, a 54-year-old rule that allows lawmakers to carry guns in certain circumstances. They did so because of the support generated by Boebert’s unapologetic insistence on packing heat while on the job.
On Thursday, Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who supported Boebert in this effort, and who serves as chairman of the House Second Amendment Caucus, announced that he was locked and loaded as the violent mob crashed the U.S. Capitol the day before.
In an interview with West Virginia-based talk-radio host Tom Roten, Massie recalled the chaotic scene inside the Capitol as the mob busted in. He told Roten he went to his office because he felt safer there.
“We barricaded the doors. I was armed, so another congressman joined me and his staff, and that was where we spent several hours until they cleared the situation. It was tense,” he said.
Massie did not identify the other lawmaker.
The congressman added that as far as he knew, no protesters got inside the House office buildings, where he was. Nor did they get into the House chamber.
“What’s funny, is my whole life I’ve envisioned myself as the guy who storms the Capitol, not the guy who’s barricaded in it,” Massie told Roten.
But he also expressed relief that he had a gun available.
“I hope that discussion has been put to bed,” Massie told Roten about the effort by 21 Democrats to overturn the House gun-carrying rule.
“I had a firearm yesterday, and I’m glad I did. Not that I ever wanted to use it.”
Massie also noted that GOP lawmakers will be “playing defense” on policies regarding gun rights.
“Talk about getting your position overrun,” he told Roten, “Chuck Schumer is presumably going to be the leader in the Senate, and I just shudder to think what they’re going to do in terms of gun control.”
Thursday evening, Massie followed up with a tweet that included a new story about the chief of the Capitol Police resigning.
“The next member who argues Congressmen shouldn’t be allowed to carry firearms at work needs to be laughed out of the Capitol,” he tweeted. “Several of us were glad to be armed while barricaded for hours in our offices with our staff.”