WASHINGTON — Lawmakers will now be required to walk through metal detectors before entering the House of Representatives chamber in the wake of the Capitol riots.
The acting Sergeant At Arms announced on Tuesday afternoon that magnetometers had been placed at selected entrances to the chamber and reminded lawmakers that firearms were forbidden.
“Effective immediately, all persons, including Members, are required undergo security screening when entering the House Chamber,” the statement read.
“Failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber,” it went on.
The decision immediately confounded congress members, who pointed out that the danger last week came from outside Congress.
“This isn’t really helpful in terms of potential future rioters but it’s actually to help protect us from our own colleagues,” Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) tweeted with a face-palm emoji.
GOP Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois told Punchbowl News the decision was “political correctness run amok.”
“The threat is outside, not inside. Every resource used inside is one that can’t be used outside,” he said.
The decision to install metal detectors outside the House floor follows a recent debate about whether legislators had the right to carry firearms in the building.
Freshman GOP Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert scored a win last month when she fought House leadership to preserve a 1967 rule that allows lawmakers to be armed for self-defense.
Members of Congress are allowed to store firearms in their offices and transport them in Washington, DC, as long as they are not loaded. They are not allowed to carry them into the chamber.
Following the deadly siege, GOP Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he and several other members of Congress felt relieved they were carrying firearms when a mob of rioters overpowered police.
“The next member who argues Congressmen shouldn’t be allowed to carry firearms at work needs to be laughed out of the Capitol,” Massie wrote.
“Several of us were glad to be armed while barricaded for hours in our offices with our staff,” he added.
From Tuesday, masks will also be mandatory on the floor and anyone flouting the rule will be removed.
It comes in the wake of several COVID-19 cases after lawmakers were forced to shelter together when pro-Trump supporters sieged the Capitol on Wednesday.
The Senate has launched a bipartisan probe into the enormous security failures that saw demonstrators overpower police, gain access to both chambers of Congress and ransack lawmaker’s offices.
House installs metal detectors to check congressional lawmakers after Capitol riots The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.