Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), the newly elected Republican who has affirmed that she plans to carry firearms on Capitol grounds, criticized the newly installed metal detectors outside the House chamber, saying they are nothing more than “another political stunt” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Freshman Boebert, a gun rights advocate, on Tuesday refused a bag check by Capitol police when she set off metal detectors during a now-mandatory security screening for lawmakers and was subsequently denied entrance to the House chamber.
It isn’t clear how the matter was resolved, however, Boebert later denounced the security policy shift in a Twitter post, saying that she is “legally permitted” to carry her firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol complex.
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.
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) January 13, 2021
“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,” she wrote after the incident.
The magnetometers were placed at selected entrances to the chamber on Tuesday, with acting House sergeant-at-arms Timothy Blodgett saying in a memo to lawmakers that the rules will apply to everyone seeking entrance and that it will go into effect immediately.
Pelosi announced on Jan. 13 that lawmakers who refuse to go through newly-installed metal detectors at the Capitol will have a $5,000 fine deducted directly from their paychecks.
The memo also reminded lawmakers that firearms are restricted to their offices, pursuant to a 1967 regulation.
“Failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber,” Blodgett said.
Lawmakers had previously been able to bypass security screening stations at most entrances to the House chamber.
The incident came just weeks after Boebert released a public statement saying that she will not give up her Second Amendment rights, adding that she is a mother of short stature and light weight that needs to be able to defend herself in “one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. ”
“I will not let a bunch of gun-grabbing House Democrats take away my Constitutional right to protect myself,” she wrote in the statement.
Speaking with Fox News Wednesday, Boebert criticized the House firearms restrictions, citing the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol which disrupted debates in both the House and Senate as lawmakers were forced to shelter in place while police and security attempted to seize back control.
Some critics have said President Donald Trump, during a lunchtime Jan. 6 rally near the Capitol, incited violence—despite the president saying that the protesters should protest “peacefully and patriotically.”
Acts of violence and lawlessness transpired as some rioters and protesters decided to unlawfully enter the Capitol building as the majority of Trump supporters rallied outside.
“It was just like this ‘I told you so’ moment,” Boebert said. “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.”
Following the outbreak of violence, Trump took to Twitter to call on protesters to “go home in peace.” He denounced the violence as a “heinous attack” that “defiled the seat of American democracy” on Jan. 7.
“You never know when you’re going to need it,” Boebert continued. “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.”
“If this isn’t a reason to be able to defend yourself, then I don’t know what it is,” Boebert said of last week’s breach. “I do not want to be in a compromising situation where I’m vulnerable and unable to protect myself ever again.”
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.