The new magnetometers set up outside the entrance to the House chamber in the wake of the storming of the Capitol on January 6th haven’t been welcomed by many Republican representatives, who view the new security measures as an insult, a time-wasting measure of security theater, or both.
There’ve been numerous reports of GOP members either ignoring the magnetometers or simply walking into the chamber after setting them off since the metal detectors were installed, and on Thursday evening Maryland Rep. Andy Harris allegedly triggered the machines with a firearm he was carrying.
A reporter for HuffPost witnessed Harris setting off the metal detectors as he attempted to enter the chamber on Thursday.
When an officer with a metal detector wand scanned him, a firearm was detected on Harris’s side, concealed by his suit coat, according to the outlet. The reporter witnessed an officer signaling to a security agent that Harris had a firearm on him, motioning toward his own weapon.
A Capitol official later confirmed to the outlet that Harris was carrying a gun.
When asked for comment, Harris’s office said in a statement: “Because his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial, for security reasons, the Congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defense. As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit. And the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding. The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.”
I appreciate the congressman’s candor, and assume that this was a simple mistake on the part of Briggs. However, the Maryland Republican apparently wasn’t the only House member carrying on Thursday evening.
If Members of Congress won’t take a stand for our Constitutional rights in DC, you can bet they won’t take a stand back at home either. https://t.co/PRmVNrSEDP
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 21, 2021
I like Rep. Boebert. I’ve interviewed her several times over the years, and I do believe that she’s a Second Amendment stalwart.
Having said that, I also think that members of Congress carrying on the floor of the House chamber isn’t really a Second Amendment issue, and Boebert isn’t standing up for “our Constitutional rights” by doing so. As I said on Twitter on Thursday evening:
When I see this I don’t think “Hey, they’re fighting for my rights!” I think, “Oh look, they’re fighting for their privilege.”
If you wanna have that fight, go for it. I support you. But please don’t try to convince me you’re doing it for *my* benefit. That’s insulting.
— Cam Edwards (@CamEdwards) January 21, 2021
That may sound harsh, but it’s not incorrect. These representatives aren’t “standing up for the Constitution” by trying to carry in the House chamber. They’re ignoring a rule that’s been in place for over 50 years, and they’re doing so for their benefit, not ours.
I haven’t heard a single Republican argue publicly that the general ban on carrying firearms inside the Capitol should be scrapped. Instead, the arguments over carrying in the Capitol that have taken place over the past month or so have all revolved around the privilege that Congress granted to itself in the late 1960s when it imposed the ban on carrying inside the Capitol.
I happen to support the members of Congress who choose to do so, but it doesn’t have any impact on my right to keep and bear arms whatsoever. Pro-2A representatives may see this issue as red meat for their base, but when they characterize their desire to ignore House rules and carry in the chamber as standing up for the rights of all gun owners, I can’t help but roll my eyes. I just can’t see how picking a fight over where members of Congress have the privilege of carrying really impacts me at all. This is their fight, not “ours.”
If they really want to fight for our rights, they should be trying to convince a dozen or so of their Democratic colleagues to reject Joe Biden’s legislative gun control agenda, starting with his proposed ban on modern sporting rifles and magazines that can hold more than ten rounds. That’s my biggest Second Amendment priority in Congress at the moment, and it’s the biggest concern of almost every gun owner I know.