Can Members of Congress Pack Heat?

Rep. Lauren Boebert with a gun while campaigning in Creede, Colorado, 2022. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Tuesday’s State of the Union was peaceful, but safety concerns prompted a contentious meeting last week in which Republicans quashed Democrats’ push to continue banning firearms in House committee rooms.

The debate and party-line vote came as the Natural Resources Committee decided on its rules for the 118th Congress, which left out a 2021 provision prohibiting members of Congress from bringing firearms into the hearing room.

The same Democrat who raised the debate, Rep. Jared Huffman, and others in his party sent a letter to congressional leadership raising concerns ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address and referencing past flaps. In one incident Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, set off metal detectors by carrying a concealed gun when trying to go to the House floor.

Debates about members of Congress carrying weapons are nothing new.

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