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Reaction to Metal Detectors Now Outside House Floor: Fury

At least on the part of the GOP
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2021 8:29 AM CST

(Newser) – Airports, courthouses, and now the US House of Representatives: Metal detectors were on Tuesday installed outside the House floor by Capitol Police, with CNN reporting that all House members and their guests, including staffers and aides, will need to pass through them to access the floor. Per a memo from Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett, the measure was taken as a way to verify that no guns and incendiary devices are brought into the chamber in keeping with regulations. As for the "why now," CNN says it spoke with a number of House Democrats who expressed concern that some lawmakers, particularly new ones, aren't abiding by the rules.

  • One quote to that end: The detectors are "to keep the jackasses from carrying guns into the chamber," an unnamed Democratic lawmaker told the Hill. "We've already got one member who's announced she wants to bring one in there." That would be GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who has stated she planned to bring her Glock pistol to Congress. The House's youngest member in centuries, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, said in an interview he was armed during the Capitol riot.

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  • GOP lawmakers' reaction: In two words, extreme displeasure. The Hill reports Republican representatives say the detectors went up without their input being solicited, and it shares some of what reporters overheard as lawmakers were made to go through the detectors. From Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, per NPR: "Horses---." From Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack: "You are creating a problem you do not understand the ramifications of," who told police to "get back" and "don’t touch me."
  • Logjam: GOP Rep. Steve Scalise framed the new process for entry as "untenable" because it "impedes the ability of members to come and vote. This is our job." CNN's report suggests he was somewhat correct, at least at the outset: It observed long lines and saw Capitol Police let "approximately eight lawmakers" go around them.
  • Outright refusal: Fox News reports some refused to go through them, with the Daily Caller reporting Rep. Louie Gohmert simply walked around them, telling police they couldn't stop him. Texas Rep. Chip Roy indicated he wouldn't vote as long as he was forced to walk through one: "The metal detector policy for the House floor is unnecessary, unconstitutional, and endangers members. I did not comply tonight. I will not comply in the future."
  • Boebert's entry: The Washington Post reports something in Boebert's bag set off the detector, and what happened next was covered in tweets from Ryan Nobles of CNN: He wrote that she was "respectful but defiant" in refusing to show police the contents of her bag. She was ultimately let in, with Nobles writing "it was unclear from my vantage point."
  • Boebert's reaction: What was made clear was Boebert's perspective. She tweeted, "I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, DC and within the Capitol complex. Metal detectors outside of the House would not have stopped the violence we saw last week—it’s just another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi." Per Blodgett's memo, "firearms are restricted to a Member's Office."
(Read more House of Representatives stories.)

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