Two Congressmen Say They’ll Be Packing Heat During District Visits
Well, this will send the debate in interesting directions for sure:
Several lawmakers are already changing their security arrangements in wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), and at least two lawmakers say they’ll now be packing firearms in public when they’re in their home districts.
Both Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) told POLITICO they will be carrying their guns in their home districts for protection. Both lawmakers hold a conceal and carry permit, but will not carry their weapons in the District of Columbia.
Shuler, who received a serious death threat in 2009, says he is planning to carry his weapon more often and boost security at his district events. He’s even encouraging his staffers to get their own conceal to carry permits.
“You never think something like this will happen, but then it does,” Shuler said “After the elections, I let my guard down. Now I know I need to have [my gun] on me. We’re going to need to do a much better job of with security at these events.”
The Capitol Police are also reassessing lawmaker security both in Washington and around the country.
Chaffetz said he’s also going to pursue whether U.S. Marshalls – who usually guard federal judges – could be expanded to guard members of Congress as well during district events.
“Perhaps they could better assess threats in the home district,” said Chaffetz, who praised the work of U.S. Capitol Police. “It certainly ought to be on the table.”
This might be advisable, but it’s pretty clear that the Marshall’s Service is currently nowhere near big enough to provide security to every Member of Congress in their home districts, and I’m not sure that we’d want them to.