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U.S. Representatives Huffman and Rice Lead Letter Requesting Members of Congress be Permanently Required to Pass Through Magnetometers Before Entering the House Floor

Letter comes following reports that Members of Congress were allegedly armed on the House floor on the day of the insurrection and reiterates call to bar firearms anywhere on Capitol grounds

January 14, 2021

Washington, D.C. – In the aftermath of last week’s deadly domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol, Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02) and Kathleen Rice (NY-04) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Committee on House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren, and House Committee on Rules Chair James P. McGovern requesting that they make permanent the requirement that all Members, guests, and spouses pass through magnetometers before entering the House floor. 

The letter, co-signed by 25 of Huffman and Rice’s colleagues, comes following reports that Members were allegedly armed on the House floor on the day of the attack in what would be a clear violation of existing House rules. It also reiterates Huffman’s request to ban Members from carrying firearms anywhere on Capitol grounds.

“Threats of political violence are on the rise, even from within our own ranks. There is a long-standing rule preventing Members from bringing guns to the House Chambers, but it is becoming more and more clear that some of my colleagues choose to flout the rules,” said Rep. Jared Huffman. “Requiring Members to go through magnetometers before entering the House Floor is a necessary change, and I believe this baseline, commonsense security measure should be made permanent. Members of Congress are not above the rules, and we should be held to the same standards as every other person that enters the Capitol.”

“I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for installing magnetometers outside the House floor after last week’s insurrection and for her announcement that Members of Congress who refuse to use them could face hefty fines,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice. “While there are already existing rules preventing firearms on the House floor, it is apparent that several of my colleagues have no intention of respecting them. Requiring Members to pass through magnetometers is a necessary security measure and I believe this change must be made permanent to ensure the safety of all who work on the House floor.”

In the letter, the Members write:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Chair Lofgren, and Chair McGovern,

Thank you for your leadership after last week’s unprecedented assault on the United States Capitol and all of the Members of Congress, law enforcement and staff that run the building on a daily basis. This attack was not only an assault on the Congress but on democracy itself. We are grateful for the law enforcement officers who worked bravely to secure us, our staffs, and all workers in the Capitol from violent insurrectionists and we join you in grieving for the six individuals who lost their lives as a result of the violence on that day. 

We write today out of grave concern for all who work in the Capitol each day and for those who had to return to work the day after this tragedy. In light of the heightened threats since last week’s terrorist attack and the forthcoming protests planned for the days leading up to, and including, the Presidential Inauguration, we ask that you make permanent the requirement that all Members, guests, and spouses pass through magnetometers before entering the House floor. 

Given reports that Members of Congress were allegedly armed on the House floor on the day of the insurrection, we are pleased that the Capitol Police Board made the decision to require Members to undergo security screening before entering the House floor. We are concerned that more Members will take the violence on Wednesday as an invitation to bring weapons to the floor again, which is why we ask that you make this change permanent and that you provide Capitol Police with the resources they need to ensure its enforcement. The presence of firearms, concealed or not, can increase tragic violence and poses a great risk to all who work on the floor, including Members, floor staff, and staff who work for the Clerk of the House and the Parliamentarians. 

Additionally, we reiterate Representative Jared Huffman’s request to ban Members from carrying firearms on Capitol grounds. If Members do not go through metal detectors, Capitol Police cannot monitor which Members are carrying or storing firearms and this poses a serious risk to all Members, staff, and the public at large. We thank you in advance for your consideration of this request and we look forward to working together to secure the Capitol and the surrounding community. 

Sincerely,     

[Members of Congress]                              

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