Republican lawmakers are raging against the new metal detectors installed at the entrance to the U.S. Congress' chamber, with at least one claiming to have illegally smuggled in a gun before. Police have installed metal detectors and other new security measures following the U.S. Capitol riot last Wednesday, and Republicans spent much of Tuesday night complaining about it. Some are concerned that these representatives could incite or enact further violence.
Capitol police set up metal detectors outside the House floor on Tuesday afternoon, according to a report by CNN. Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett issued a memo to representatives reminding them of the gun policies in the building. This comes after newly-elected Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert promised in a campaign advertisement to eschew the law and carry her gun to Congress, while North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn claimed in an interview that he was armed at the time of the insurrection last week.
"Fortunately, I was armed, so we would have been able to protect ourselves," Cawthorn told Smoky Mountain News last week. When it was pointed out that this put Cawthorn in clear violation of the law at the U.S. Capitol, his communications director Micah Bock issued a new statement, though still did not deny that Cawthorn had been armed on Wednesday.
"Rep. Cawthorn exercises his 2nd Amendment rights, as well as the privileges available to members of Congress," Boch said. "Congressman Cawthorn seeks to follow the guidance of Capitol police and is immensely grateful for the work that they do."
According to CNN, firearms of any kind are not allowed at the Capitol, even for those with the right permits to carry a gun in Washington D.C. Even Capitol Police face restrictions on their arms within the building, and in the House chamber itself, only the Sergeant-at-Arms is allowed to have a firearm.
The installation of these metal detectors come as Democrats reveal new evidence for their concern that their Republican colleagues could have been complicit in the violence last week in one way or another. On Tuesday, New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill issued a statement saying that some Republicans gave tours of the Capitol building on Tuesday to groups that later participated in the riots, which she called "reconnaissance for the next day." That night, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke at length on Instagram Live about how her conspiracy theorist colleagues made her feel like a target during the attack. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Presley made the startling revelation that the panic buttons were removed from her office without warning, and she only discovered that they were gone during the attack.
This is quite an allegation from Rep. Mikie Sherrill. pic.twitter.com/0IBBwasLdt— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 13, 2021
In spite of all that, many Republican lawmakers physically evaded the metal detectors on Tuesday night, and dedicated all of their floor time to raging against them. Boebert issued a public statement suggesting that the solution to these tensions should be more guns, not less.
"It is a shame that Nancy Pelosi is trying to disarm Members of Congress in the very place that needed more protection on January 6th. It is clear metal detectors would not have deterred the violent acts we saw; this political stunt does nothing to improve the safety of Members in the Capitol complex," the statement read. "As I have said in previous statements, I will comply with all applicable firearm laws and regulations. I want to again thank the brave men and women of the Capitol Police for their service and for keeping us safe."