While Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) doesn’t back Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R., Texas) push to allow lawmakers to carry concealed handguns in D.C., Gohmert has found support for his idea from “numerous members who agree with the logic and who are making suggestions,” according to a statement he made to National Review Online.
For Gohmert, the legislation is a way to avert security threats without spending taxpayer money. “There are times when members of Congress do not have the protection of Capitol Hill Police in one of the most dangerous cities in America,” says Gohmert. “We don’t need to spend millions on massive security details to escort everyone 24-7. We can just allow those who have been trusted by hundreds of thousands of people and sent to our crime capitol to protect themselves while in that federal enclave.”
And while some reported that Gohmert’s legislation, which is still being drafted, would permit lawmakers to bring guns onto the House floor itself, that isn’t true. “The intent of the legislation I’m working on is to allow a member of Congress to carry a concealed handgun within Washington, D.C. and Capitol grounds. Members of Congress don’t need weapons on the floor since the U.S. Capitol itself is very well protected by some of the greatest men and women in law enforcement today.”
UPDATE: From Bob Costa, who spoke to Gohmert at the House Republicans’ retreat in Baltimore: “Gohmert, aware of the varied early responses to his idea, is prepared to tinker with its legislative language. ‘One of the things that we’ve talked about adding — and this may be enough to convince [Chaffetz] — is having reciprocity, so that if anyone is authorized to carry a weapon in any state, then D.C. has to recognize that conceal and carry,’ he says.”