Thankfully, Attempts on the Lives of Members of Congress are Rare

Thankfully, attacks on members of Congress are a rarity.

Yahoo details the basic history of assassination attempts on US Congressmen. Go here for details.

The last sitting member to be shot was Representative Leo Ryan, who was ambushed in Guyana in 1978. Before that, several Congressmen were shot, but not killed, by Puerto Rican nationalists who stormed the Capitol on 1954.

I think that the last member of the Congress to be shot and killed on US soil was Senator Bobby Kennedy, and that was more in the context of his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 1968 rather than in his capacity as a legislator.

See, also, Salon: Assassinations are rare — but not unheard of.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Crime, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. ponce says:

    The anthrax mailed to Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy weren’t attempts on their lives?

  2. Fair enough. I was thinking in terms of physical attacks.

  3. Bill Jempty says:

    How about Larry McDonald of Georgia? He was on board KAL 007 which was shot down by the Soviets in 1983

  4. Gustopher says:

    Less than 0.2% of Representatives have been shot in the past year. What’s the big deal?

  5. Jay Tea says:

    Oh, yes, the Puerto Rican separatists… pardoned by Jimmy Carter. Welcomed home as heroes by their fellow separatists.