Two California representatives in the U.S. House introduced a bill on Monday that would ban congresspeople from carrying firearms on Capitol grounds.
Citing the possibility of an “unspeakable tragedy,” Rep. Jared Huffman called his colleagues who wish to carry firearms “unhinged” and said their guns “make all of us less safe.”
“Threats of political violence are on the rise, and it makes all of us less safe if Members of Congress and their staff don’t have to comply with gun safety standards,” said Rep. Huffman in a press release announcing his bill. “Members should not be above the law.”
His fellow California representative, Jackie Speier, joined him in co-sponsoring the legislation.
“Statistics show that accidents happen when there are firearms around. The existing exemption for Representatives increases the risk of gun violence for Members, staff, and the public. It’s long past time we close the Member loophole and protect all who enter the Capitol complex,” Rep. Speier said.
A 1967 law exempted members of Congress from adhering to the same rules that prevent members of the public from carrying firearms on capitol grounds. Several Republican members of Congress have been outspoken about their intention to carry firearms in Congress, but Rep. Huffman believes the exemption is “anachronistic.”
“When the rule was passed, the DC was having race riots and the Capitol was not a very secure place. Members, mostly white men, were afraid and wanted to have their own guns just in case,” he said in a Facebook post.
Huffman argues that the Capitol is today “one of the most fortified and secure places on earth” and members no longer need to worry about defending themselves while at work.
“Even the most paranoid member of Congress could not justify why they need guns at work. Yet some members insist on it. And the ones who are loudest about it always seem to be the most brazen and reckless — the ones most likely to cause an accident or something worse,” he said.
Huffman has taken special aim at the most vocal pro-gun members of Congress. Last week, he used a tweet from Louisiana member Clay Higgins as proof of the necessity of his new bill.
Folks: under current House rules, this guy is allowed to have assault weapons in the United States Capitol. He’s allowed to bypass security and do whatever he wants with his guns, unlike everyone else in the Capitol. Ser why I am trying to pass common-sense security reforms? https://t.co/wGGqzF5bb2— Rep. Jared Huffman (@JaredHuffman) December 21, 2020
Higgins came under fire in September for his alleged response to protests over the police shooting death of Trayford Pellerin. According to KATC, he threatened to kill the protestors if they showed up in his neighborhood or where he worked.
Huffman has also criticized incoming Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who attended many campaign events with a Glock in a leg holster and said she plans to carry at the Capitol. Huffman linked to an article about Boebert in his announcement of his new bill.
I’m bringing rural Colorado grit to DC! pic.twitter.com/jwQdlSum4z— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) November 23, 2020
Huffman dismissed the argument that congresspeople should enjoy the same Second Amendment rights as other Americans at work.
“Cue the predictable fake outrage and cries of 2nd Amendment infringement. It is just a matter of time before an unspeakable tragedy happens, and I prefer to prevent it,” he said.