WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado encountered a new obstacle Tuesday evening to her plan to carry her handgun on Capitol Hill: the heightened security measures within the U.S. Capitol building.
As of Tuesday, lawmakers entering the U.S. House of Representatives have to pass through magnetometers in order to walk on the House floor and cast their votes. Prior to last week’s mob attack, lawmakers could bypass security checkpoints throughout the Capitol complex.
When Boebert, a freshman Republican from Silt, walked through the metal detector Tuesday evening, the alarm went off, according to a pool feed from reporters who were in the hallway.
She would not allow Capitol Police officers to search her bag, causing a brief standoff before the legislator was allowed in to vote, according to the pool report.
In a statement sent by her spokesman, Boebert did not respond to a question about why she would not let the officers look inside her handbag. Instead, she criticized the new security measures and said she will comply with all applicable firearm laws and regulations.
“It is a shame that Nancy Pelosi is trying to disarm members of Congress in the very place that needed more protection on January 6th,” Boebert said in the statement, referring to the Democratic House speaker. “It is clear metal detectors would not have deterred the violent acts we saw; this political stunt does nothing to improve the safety of members in the Capitol complex.”
Boebert also contested a House Rules proposal to prohibit lawmakers from carrying firearms as one of her earliest actions as a member of Congress.
Guns are banned in the House and Senate chambers, but the proposal sought to alter a 1967 regulation allowing legislators to keep a gun in their office and carry one elsewhere on the Capitol grounds.
U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), in a letter signed by 20 fellow Democrats, said that policy “fosters an environment where members may unwittingly be putting themselves and others in danger.”
Boebert has drawn criticism for her support of objections to the presidential election votes, as well as for her tweets at the time of the Capitol attack, when she noted that Pelosi had been whisked from the House floor — a security detail that was not yet apparent to those watching on TV. Boebert has rejected that criticism, saying that some “have taken my tweets out of context.”
Boebert wasn’t the only House Republican expressing frustration with the new security measures: A handful of GOP lawmakers simply walked around the magnetometers, according to tweets from reporters in the hallways.
Boebert’s incident in the House hallway and the additional security come a day before the House is set to consider another article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his role inciting the violent mob that ransacked the Capitol in a terrifying encounter that has left at least five people dead and dozens of law enforcement officers injured.