Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14), Jared Huffman (CA-02), and Robin Kelly (IL-02) led 18 colleagues in a letter to House Leadership requesting a change in House Rules for the 117th Congress to ensure that Members of Congress are held to the same firearm safety rules as the public while they are on Capitol grounds. With escalating rhetoric and threats of political violence, the Members asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Keven McCarthy to reexamine the over-50-year-old regulation that exempts Members of Congress from the firearm rules that apply to everyone else who visits or works at the U.S. Capitol.
The text of the letter is pasted below and a copy of the letter is attached below.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:
We write to ask for the inclusion of language in the House Rules package for the 117th Congress banning members from carrying firearms on Capitol grounds.
Currently, Members of Congress are exempt from the firearms prohibition in 40 U.S.C. § 5104 under the Capitol Police Board’s regulations. These regulations, which date back to 1967, raise several serious concerns. For example, the regulations do not direct Members of Congress to secure firearms that are stored within their offices; as you know, Member offices are open to staff, visitors, and the general public, and a firearm that is not secured could easily end up in the wrong hands. Moreover, the regulations do not appear to be enforceable: there is currently no way for the Capitol Police to know which members are carrying or storing firearms.
Paradoxically, these regulations are not clearly made available to Members. Despite assurances from the House Sergeant at Arms that Freshmen Members would be instructed on gun regulations during New Member Orientation, most returning Members are likely not aware of any regulations whatsoever regarding firearms on Capitol grounds. As a result, there is a total lack of uniformity and procedure surrounding Members of Congress carrying firearms, which fosters an environment where Members may unwittingly be putting themselves and others in danger.
Ultimately, the current regulations create needless risk for Members of Congress, their staff, members of the Capitol Police, and visitors to the Capitol grounds. A provision in the Rules package directing the Capitol Police Board to ensure that Member of Congress may not possess firearms on Capitol grounds would ensure clarity surrounding firearms policy and protect all individuals in and around the Capitol. We urge inclusion of this commonsense protection in the 117th Congress.
[Members of Congress]
- (72.7 KBs)