GOP Congressmen Demand Right to Defend Themselves in D.C.
Republican lawmakers consider override of concealed-carry restrictions in wake of ambush
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said Thursday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that it is “imperative” that members of Congress have the right to carry weapons to defend themselves following the shooting rampage at the baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. During the attack, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, and three others were shot by an angry left-wing activist who’d volunteered for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“The fact that we should be able to have an opportunity to practice our Second Amendment right to be able to arm ourselves in a concealed way, I think, is certainly common sense at this point,” Walker said.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) said on Wednesday that after the shooting, which has left Scalise in critical condition with serious internal damage, he will carry a gun at all public events.
"I can assure you, from this day forward: I have a carry permit. I will be carrying when I'm out and about…It's going to be in my pocket from this day forward."
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) said Wednesday that Congress should consider making it easier for lawmakers to carry guns to protect themselves.
And they may be doing just that. A spokesman for Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) said Thursday that the congressman, who introduced a concealed-carry bill in January, has been "in discussions" with other members of Congress on "best steps forward" to ensure the safety of members, their families, their staffs and their constituents, saying: "Concealed carry for members of Congress is one of the ideas on the table."
Ingraham said on Thursday morning that people are now saying President Trump should ask Congress to pass a bill allowing members of Congress, and maybe everyone in Washington, D.C., to be allowed to carry a concealed weapon, saying the District has one of the worst records in the country of complying with the Second Amendment.
"People are sitting ducks in Washington, D.C., because the only thing you can have is a shotgun in your house. You gotta go through hell and high water to get that," she said, saying people out playing frisbee or baseball on the National Mall who could come under fire would have no choice but to wait to be rescued.
Several members of Congress who were at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, early Wednesday morning, described the horror of being shot at, with no way of defending themselves as the bullets came, one after another, pop, pop, pop.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill some hours after the shooting, standing with his 10-year-old son, who'd been with him at the baseball field when the shooting started, and described hearing "dozens" of shots, perhaps more than 100, and running for cover. His son, he said, hid under an SUV.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) said the members of Congress "were like sitting ducks."
He described to reporters what it was like having to run and hide out in a dugout while shots rang out.
"I immediately went down to the ground," he said, describing his first reaction when he realized the popping was the sound of a gun, and that the members of Congress were being fired upon.
"I lay there for a while, then I realized that the gunshots were continuing, and I got very scared, because I said, 'Well, I'm [lying] out here on the field — if somebody wants to shoot me, I'm a sitting duck.'"
Two members of Scalise's security detail, Capitol Police officers who were present at the baseball practice, shot at the gunman, who was shooting through the fence with a rifle. One was shot in the ankle.
"Technically, there's a way to get a concealed-carry permit in D.C, but it's almost impossible."
The shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, was an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders who'd written online: "It's time to destroy Trump & Co." In the parking lot next to the baseball field, he'd asked a member of Congress who was leaving the practice whether the people on the field were Republicans or Democrats. Minutes after being told they were Republicans, he began to shoot. He was shot and killed at the field, either by Capitol Police officers or by Alexandria police officers who'd arrived on the scene.
But there were many long minutes in which the congressmen could do nothing but cower.
Rock musician and conservative Ted Nugent lashed out at the specter of this in a video posted to Facebook late Wednesday.
"What's with the stupid, ignorant, psycho fear of guns?" he railed. "Do you know some of the people that were shot at today are Marines, U.S. Marine Corps heroes? Some of those congressmen are military heroes, and they're not allowed to carry a gun? What's the fear with guns? Do you have a spare tire in your trunk, whether you've needed it or not? Do you have a fire extinguisher at home, whether you've needed it or not? Why don't people carry guns? What's with all these unarmed, helpless people getting shot, cowering in a dugout, like sitting ducks, their own words?" (click on page 2 for the rest of the story)