Congresswoman may carry at Capitol
WASHINGTON (AP) — A firearms-toting congresswoman-elect who owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, has already asked Capitol Police about carrying her weapon on Capitol grounds, her office has acknowledged. If she does so, she apparently won’t be alone.
The practice is allowed for lawmakers, with some limitations, under decades-old congressional regulations. The public is barred from carrying weapons in the Capitol, its grounds and office buildings.
Republican Lauren Boebert, 33, was elected this month from a conservative western Colorado district after gaining notice as a brash pro-gun activist who straps a Glock pistol to her hip. In an upset last June, she defeated five-term Rep. Scott Tipton for the GOP nomination, in part by claiming he wasn’t an ardent enough backer of President Donald Trump.
Boebert asked Capitol Police officials about carrying her weapon when she and other House freshmen taking office in January were in town recently for orientation programs, according to two congressional officials. Both people — a Democrat and a Republican — spoke on condition of anonymity to describe her request.
Aides to Boebert, who Trump endorsed as “a fighter” who will “never bow down to the establishment in Congress,” did not make her available for an interview.
“This was a private discussion and inquiry about what the rules are, and as a result the Congresswoman-Elect won’t be going on the record,” Boebert aide Laura Carno said in an email last week.
The inquiries by Boebert, who runs Shooters Grill, come as guns remain a passionate issue for both parties, fueled by images of demonstrations by armed Trump supporters, conservative pushes to ease state gun restrictions and recent years’ mass shootings.
Even so, prospects for significantly changing federal gun laws seem scant as a new, narrowly divided Congress takes office in January alongside President-elect Joe Biden.
Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki did not respond to a reporter’s questions about the department’s communications with Boebert and the number of lawmakers who carry firearms.
The agency’s officials did not answer directly when Democrats on the House Committee on Administration asked in 2018 how many lawmakers carry firearms in the Capitol. The officials said in a written response that they’ve “been made aware” of inquiries about carrying weapons.
“There is no standing requirement” that lawmakers notify them when they carry a firearm in the Capitol, the officials wrote. Regulations require safe storage of weapons, but “that responsibility resides with the Member,” they said.