24 November 2020

Pistol-packing politician wants to carry her gun while in Congress

24 November 2020

A firearms-toting congresswoman-elect who owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, has already asked Capitol Police about carrying her weapon on Capitol grounds, her office has acknowledged.

If she does so, she will not be alone.

The practice is allowed for politicians, with some limitations, under decades-old congressional regulations.

The public is barred from carrying weapons in the Capitol, its grounds and office buildings.

Republican Lauren Boebert, 33, was elected this month from a conservative western Colorado district after gaining notice as a brash pro-gun activist who straps a Glock pistol to her hip.

In an upset last June, she defeated five-term Representative Scott Tipton for the Republican nomination, in part by claiming he was not an ardent enough backer of President Donald Trump.

Lauren Boebert (David Zalubowski/AP) (AP)

Ms Boebert asked Capitol Police officials about carrying her weapon when she and other House freshmen taking office in January were in town recently for orientation programmes, according to two congressional officials.

Both people — a Democrat and a Republican — spoke on condition of anonymity to describe her request.

Aides to Ms Boebert, who Mr Trump endorsed as “a fighter” who will “never bow down to the establishment in Congress”, did not make her available for an interview.

“This was a private discussion and inquiry about what the rules are, and as a result the congresswoman-elect won’t be going on the record,” Boebert aide Laura Carno said in an email last week.

The inquiries by Ms Boebert, who runs Shooters Grill, come as guns remain a passionate issue for both parties, fuelled by images of demonstrations by armed Trump supporters, conservative pushes to ease state gun restrictions and recent years’ mass shootings.

The Capitol is seen in Washington (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) (AP)

Even so, prospects for significantly changing federal gun laws seem scant as a new, narrowly divided Congress takes office in January alongside President-elect Joe Biden.

Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki did not respond to a reporter’s questions about the department’s communications with Ms Boebert and the number of politicians who carry firearms.

The agency’s officials did not answer directly when Democrats on the House Committee on Administration asked in 2018 how many politicians carry firearms in the Capitol.

The officials said in a written response that they have “been made aware” of inquiries about carrying weapons.

“There is no standing requirement” that politicians notify them when they carry a firearm in the Capitol, the officials wrote.

Regulations require safe storage of weapons, but “that responsibility resides with the Member”, they said.

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