House Republicans disregard metal detectors to keep guns off House floor
By Karoun Demirjian and Felicia Sonmez
A group of House Republicans pushed past newly installed magnetometers put in place to keep firearms out of the House chamber, after one gun-rights activist appeared to set off a metal detector but refused a subsequent bag search.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who came under fire during Wednesday’s riot for tweeting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had been removed from the chamber, was seen by photographers around the House chamber refusing to allow Capitol Police to inspect her bag.
Boebert is a vocal gun-rights activist who has promised to carry her Glock on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and in Washington. While firearms are allowed in House offices, they cannot be brought onto the House floor.
Following the apparent altercation with Boebert, several more House Republicans were seen walking around the magnetometers, pushing their way past security and striding onto the floor for a vote that was underway.
It wasn’t just reporters who noticed the GOP members breaking the new rules about entry onto the House floor. Other members began reporting on the actions of their more reckless colleagues as well.
“Rep. Van Taylor is in front of me as I’m trying to go in to vote, refusing to pass through a metal detector and arguing with U.S. Capitol Police officers about it,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said of the Texas Republican in a tweet.
“Do these people not understand that literally everyone else has to go through metal detectors to get in here?” Beyer continued. “Average people do not get to bring guns into the United States Capitol in normal times. Get over yourselves.”
“I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol complex,” she said. “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.”
Acting House sergeant at arms Timothy Blodgett informed House members of the new screening procedures in a letter hours earlier.
“Magnetometers are being placed at selected entrances to the Chamber,” Blodgett said in the letter. “Failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber.”
He also reminded lawmakers that “pursuant to the firearms regulations that Members received on opening day, firearms are restricted to a Member’s Office.”