Following the attack by a lone gunman on a GOP Congressional baseball practice that left five people injured and the attacker dead, a number of lawmakers have voiced their desire to carry a firearm to defend themselves.
According to this story form washingtonexaminer.com, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia) has made a proposal that members of Congress who are allowed to conceal carry a firearm in their home state be allowed to do so in Washington D.C. The district does not recognize concealed carry licenses or permits from other states.
“There are several things to look at,” Loudermilk said in the story. “First of all, if this had happened in Georgia, he wouldn’t have gotten too far. I had a staff member who was in his car, maybe 20 yards behind the shooter… who back in Georgia carries a nine millimeter in his car. I carry a weapon. He had a clear shot at him. But here, we’re not allowed to carry any weapons here… Most of us are here in D.C., so how are you supposed to have it here?”
“I think we need to look at some kind of reciprocity for members here,” Loudermilk said. “But also we need to look at security detail. If Scalise hadn’t been on our team, it would have been really bad.”
Loudermilk added that, “We aren’t any more special than anybody else, but we’re targets.”
Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) told CNN.com something similar.
“The ability to protect ourselves individually, rather than having to rely on someone else is something that I cherish,” Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan told CNN. “I would like the opportunity to be able to protect myself as a congressman.”
Bergman’s comments are especially poignant because he was on the field in Alexandria when the attack took place.
In the same story, Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York) said that, prior to Wednesday’s shooting, he used to carry his handgun on rare occasions. Now he plans to carry it 24/7.
“I’ve had a carry permit for 30 years, and I would say off and on in different instances where I have, you know, felt it was appropriate, I would carry the weapon on myself,” Collins said on CNN’s New Day. “Certainly in the short term I’m going to go a step beyond just having it in the glove box in my car and I will be carrying.”
On the evening of the attack, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) wrote the following on Facebook:
“What’s always evident in these situations is: the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. We need to repeal laws that keep good guys from carrying guns, since not everyone has a personal police detail. The right to keep and bear arms is the common person’s first line of defense in these situations, and it should never be denied.”
The following day Massie introduced a bill similar to Loudermilk’s.
“The irony is that those of us in Congress who don’t have police details, we are safer in our home districts where many of us do carry concealed weapons,” Massie said on Fox Business.
In this story from outdoorhub.com, Collins confirmed he has a concealed carry permit and said, “If you look at the vulnerability, I assure you: I have a carry permit. I will be carrying when I’m out and about.”
But they’re not the only ones voicing the same concerns and opinions in the wake of the shooting. Gov. Paul LePage of Maine said this week he may start carrying a gun, according to this story from pressherald.com.
State Rep. Richard Cebra (R-Naples) sent LePage a letter asking him to use his executive power to allow state lawmakers with concealed weapon permits to carry their guns at the State House, which is currently prohibited.
In this story from The New York Times, Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Virginia), who has introduced to make it easier for people to carry in D.C..
“Had there not been a member of House leadership present, there would have been no police present, and it would have become the largest act of political terrorism in years, if not ever,” Garrett said in the story.
“The field was essentially a killing field,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) in the same story. “You had no way to defend yourself.”
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and the third-ranking House Republican was among those injured in the attack, and remains in critical condition after several surgeries. The man who shot him, James Hodgkinson of Illinois was killed on the scene by Capitol Police.