The top security official for the House of Representatives reportedly wants to ban lawmakers from carrying loaded guns into the Capitol.
House Sergeant at Arms William J. Walker said no one except police and other law enforcement should be packing heat inside the Capitol, CNN reported.
“The Capitol Complex should be a place where no one carries a firearm unless they are actively engaged in law enforcement or … protection work,” Walker wrote to Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland).
Walker said federal law already “unambiguously” bars anyone from carrying firearms outside their offices unless the weapons are “unloaded and securely wrapped” and licensed in Washington D.C.
The no-loaded-guns rule is only enforced now for the House floor, with everyone, including lawmakers, required to go through metal detectors to enter the floor since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Walker said the security devices are merely stricter enforcement of a longstanding policy barring guns from the House floor.
“Magnetometers installed last January did not reflect a change in law or policy but only a new method to enforce a policy more than 50 years old,” Walker wrote.
The letter came in response to a letter from Hoyer asking if the Capitol could be declared a “gun-free zone.”
“Firearms (regulations) in the Capitol Complex or on its grounds are unclear or ambiguous in the understanding of some (members of Congress), who believe they have a right to carry personal firearms in these spaces, “Hoyer wrote.
Walker admitted that not all lawmakers would agree with his opinion. “Regrettably, my position on this matter is not shared by all stakeholders,” Walker wrote.
The issue of security in the Capitol burst into the public eye when a mob of supporters of former President Trump stormed the complex on Jan. 6 in a failed effort to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s election win.
Despite the apparent threat, some right-wing Republicans vehemently oppose heightened security measures like the metal detectors and fencing installed after the Jan. 6 attack.
Several Republican lawmakers have been repeatedly caught trying to bring firearms onto the House floor. Others have sought to bypass metal detectors designed to prevent anyone from getting weapons onto the floor.
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