Members of Congress and staffers will have to walk through metal detectors in order to get onto the floor of the US House of Representatives, a senior Democratic aide told CNN Tuesday.
The development comes after multiple House Democrats told CNN they are worried about some of their Republican colleagues and that there have been multiple conversations about the need for every member of Congress and their guests to start going through metal detectors.
Capitol Police had set up metal detectors outside of the House floor as of Tuesday afternoon and all House members, staffers and aides will have to go through them, the aide said. A US Capitol Police source confirmed the measures are in place.
Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett said in a memo to all members of Congress and their staffs that the metal detectors were being installed to ensure compliance with police regulations banning guns and incendiary devices from the chamber.
Members are reminded that pursuant to the firearms regulations that Members received on opening day, firearms are restricted to a Member’s Office,” the memo stated. “Thank you in advance for your (cooperation) with the United States Capitol Police and Sergeant at Arms staff during the screening process.”
The House Democrats told CNN that they are worried some lawmakers are ignoring House rules regarding firearms.
“There have been increasing tensions with certain incoming freshmen for months, who have been insistent on bringing firearms in violation of law and guidelines,” one House Democrat said, in a reference to Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and others.
Boebert was filmed in a campaign advertisement vowing to carry her Glock handgun around Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. and has said she would carry her gun to Congress. The District has strict gun laws and Washington’s police chief has warned the congresswoman that she is subject to the same laws as everyone else in the nation’s capital.
Cawthorn, meanwhile, said in an interview with Smoky Mountain News last week that he was armed when a mob stormed the Capitol.
“Fortunately, I was armed, so we would have been able to protect ourselves,” Cawthorn told the paper.
CNN has reached out to Cawthorn and Boebert’s offices for comment.
According to the US Capitol Police’s website, firearms are prohibited on the Capitol grounds even if someone has a carry permit from Washington, DC or another state. Law enforcement officers who are performing their official duties and meet “certain established criteria” may be allowed to carry their weapon into the Capitol.
The Washington Post reported in 2018 that guns are completely banned in the legislative chambers, with an exception for the chambers’ sergeants-at-arms.
A second Democratic member of Congress told CNN that the concern extends to the people those members of Congress may invite to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“There are concerns about the gun-toting members, but also we don’t know who they’re going to bring to the inauguration who can bypass the metal detectors,” the second House Democrat said. “Until there’s an investigation and until we understand our colleagues’ level of complicity in the attack we don’t know how involved they really were. Until we have answers I don’t think we should trust them — not all of them of course, but some of them.”
The second Democrat noted that some of the House Republicans went onto the chamber’s floor after the attack and continued to share election lies. That Democrat added that some refused to wear masks while they were sheltering in place and now at least three Democrats have tested positive for Covid-19.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.