On January 3rd, Concealed Nation published an article titled Pelosi Gives In, Allows Lauren Boebert To Carry A Gun In The Capitol. In the days since, there have been many developments around this story and the freshman representative who campaigned on a strong gun rights platform is not backing down from her campaign mantra.
Lauren Boebert, the owner of a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, is also a newly elected Republican in the United States House of Representatives and is co-chair of the Second Amendment Caucus. A strong supporter of the Second Amendment as well as a supporter and practitioner of both open and concealed carry, bold and outspoken, she released a digital advertisement on January 3rd proudly stating that she would carry her Glock in Washington, D.C. and in the Capitol building as a member of Congress.
The following day, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said in a press conference that he plans to contact Boebert to make sure that she is aware “of what the laws of the District of Columbia are.” While Congressional members are allowed to carry guns on Capitol grounds, DC has strict laws concerning carry and Rep. Boebert “will be subjected to the same penalties as anyone else that’s caught on the D.C. streets carrying a firearm unlawfully,” Contee added.
Grandstanding with the police chief was Mayor Muriel Bowser, saying, “It angers me actually, that any elected official would incite violence, put our city at risk, put these men and women in law enforcement at risk, our residents at risk, and our beautiful city at risk.”
Following the July 2017 ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in Wrenn v. District of Columbia that applicants no longer needed to prove that they have a “good reason” for a concealed carry permit, both residents and non-residents may apply for a permit. All applicants must sit through and pass a certified in-person course, show proficiency with a concealable firearm through a range test, as well as pass a background check after all required paperwork is filed at the Metropolitan Police Department. D.C.
The following day, Boebert responded to Contee in a televised interview, saying “I have gone through the concealed carry courses that Washington, D.C., requires to obtain a concealed carry permit, and I think it’s very interesting that he wants to ensure that I understand Washington, D.C., firearm laws. Maybe I should make a video announcing that I plan to drive a car in Washington, D.C., and then the chief of police will say that he’s going to inform me of Washington, D.C., traffic laws. Is this what he does with everyone who comes to the District of Columbia and for each and every person? I don’t think so.”
When Speaker of the House Nancy Peolsi and a group of other 20 other Democratic representatives launched a plan to put an end to the ability for members of Congress to carry firearms on Capitol grounds via House rule changes, Boebert and 83 other house members pushed back. While not a majority by any means, the resistance has – at least temporarily – stopped the Speaker from changing the policy.
However, when the Capitol was breached on January 6th, Boebert did not have her trusty Glock by her side. While members of Congress are allowed to have firearms on Capitol grounds, they are not allowed in the House Chamber. Bobert had followed the rules that day and left her pistol in her office, leaving her in the chamber unarmed when the Capitol security detail failed to keep protesters outside.
Speaking on the incident, Boebert said “You never know when you’re going to need it, so you never leave home without it. And that’s how I live my life every day, and now here I am prohibited to carry it in the one room where I potentially needed it.”
She continued, “”It was just like this ‘I told you so’ moment. I wish that I would have just not listened. Because my life is worth defending. The people next to me, their lives are worth defending. Then to not have the ability to do so, it’s very discomforting.”
The events of January 6th only served to make both sides dig in deeper: Boebert and a large number of other Republicans believe more guns on the House floor are needed, while the majority of Democrats believe that no guns in the chamber is the answer.
In the days following the incident, Speaker Pelosi’s office shared a new policy from the House Acting Sergeant at Arms Timothy P. Blodgett. On Tuesday, January 12, new magnetometers were installed at the entrances to the House chamber. “Failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber,” Blodgett wrote Tuesday.
That evening, Rep. Boebert was denied entry into the chamber after her bag set one of the new metal detectors and she refused to consent to a search of her bag by officers. Several other GOP representatives reportedly also balked at the idea of being subjected to searches.
CNN reporter Ryan Nobles, in a tweet, declared it a “standoff’, saying that Boebert was “respectful but defiant.”
Just over an hour later, Boebert tweeted, “I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol Complex. Metal detectors outside of the House would not have stopped the violence we saw last week – it’s just another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi.”
Boebert was eventually allowed to enter the House chamber with her bag, which was not searched. But, as with any story in D.C., it doesn’t end there. On Wednesday, Pelosi stated her intent to impose fines on members who defy the metal detectors, proudly tweeted by Nobles.
Pelosi stated that the House will adopt new rules upon returning to session on January 21st, the day following the Presidential Inauguration. She is promising fines to members who bypass the metal detectors, with a fine of $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second offense, taken directly from the members Congressional paycheck. “It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe,” Pelosi said in a statement.
This isn’t over yet folks…not by a longshot. In fact, it’s just getting started.