WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following an attack on Congressional Republicans last week that left several injured, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL5) wants to ensure that members of Congress can carry their own firearms. He made the announcement on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Features” while reflecting on his first-hand experience of the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Right now when we’re in Washington, D.C., once we’re off the complex … we’re still high-profile targets, but we have absolutely no way to defend ourselves because of Washington, D.C.’s rather restrictive gun laws,” Brooks said.
In regard to D.C.’s gun laws, Brooks is completely correct. The nation’s capital has some of the strictest gun regulations in the country, including background checks, a registration requirement, a purchase permit requirement, a carry permit requirement, a ban on open carry, and magazine capacity limitations. Despite these safeguards, D.C. has one of the highest murder rates in the country, but that rate has declined since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the city’s outright handgun ban in D.C. v. Heller nine years ago.
Brooks’ name was found on a hit list in the shooter’s pocket that also included South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks. However, it was Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise that was most seriously injured in the attack before Capitol Police killed the shooter.
“You’ve got a situation where, yes, this one shooter has been killed, but he’s a member of an organization that applauded what transpired on Wednesday,” Brooks said on Fox. “And so those of us who are on this assassination list … it behooves us to be a little bit more wary than we otherwise might be.”
According to the United States and District of Columbia Criminal Codes, firearms of any kind are strictly prohibited on Capitol Hill. However, it was not against the law until 1967, when Congress made carrying or discharging a firearm on the Hill an offense punishable by up to five years in prison.