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‘Don’t touch me!’ GOP lawmakers fume over metal detectors installed at Capitol without their knowledge

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Several Republican lawmakers clashed with Capitol Police over metal detectors installed outside the House chambers after last week’s riot at the Capitol Building.

The GOP lawmakers were overheard by reporters complaining about the newly- installed detectors while ripping Democrats as they attempted to enter the chamber to cast a vote. Some said they were never consulted by majority Democrats about having the detectors set up.

“You’re taking valuable resources completely away from where it needs to be, and you guys did it without any consultation with the minority,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) yelled at House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), as he labeled the detectors “bulls**t.”

“You are creating a problem you do not understand the ramifications of,” Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), shouted at police manning the detectors, hollering at them to “get back” and “don’t touch me.”

CNN Capitol Hill correspondent Ryan Nobles noted via Twitter Tuesday evening that freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who previously vowed to carry a concealed handgun on the Capitol grounds, was “currently in a standoff with” officers at the metal detectors located “outside the chamber doors.”

“Boebert walked through with her bag which set off” the detector, Nobles reported, adding that she then “refused to offer the bag over to be searched and is now in a standoff with” police.

“Capitol Police won’t let her in until Boebert shows them what is in her bag; she won’t and is now standing by the entrance of the chamber. She is respectful but defiant,” Nobles continued.

A few moments later Noble tweeted that the freshman Republican, who owns a gun-themed restaurant in her district, was allowed into the House chamber. He noted that from his “vantage point,” he wasn’t sure if she allowed police to search her bag.

Noble then retweeted a post from CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju, who wrote: “House GOP furious at new mags outside the chamber. Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Steve Womack erupted at Capitol Police as they were forced to go through the mags. Womack shouted ‘I was physically restrained!’ And Mullin said ‘it’s my constitutional right’ and ‘they cannot stop me.’”

He later added comments from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.,) the chamber’s second-ranking Republican, who said the detector setup was “‘untenable’ because it ‘impedes the ability of members to come and vote. This is our job.’” The post included a photo of lines outside the chamber.

Boebert later tweeted that she is “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.”

Later, in a pushback to users online speculating that she is violating Washington, D.C.’s laws against concealed carry, Boebert wrote on Twitter: “The fact is my concealed carry permit was issued by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police. It seems you are the one who is incorrect.”

The sender’s tweet had been deleted.

As reported by The Hill, an unnamed Democratic lawmaker railed at Boebert’s remark regarding last week’s violence, saying that the detectors were not set up for situations like that but rather are aimed at preventing lawmakers from bringing weapons into the House chamber, something she said she’s allowed to do.

The detectors were set up “to keep the jackasses from carrying guns into the chamber,” the unnamed Democrat said. “We’ve already got one member who’s announced she wants to bring one in there.”

The metal detectors were quickly installed on Tuesday and are intended to screen anyone, including lawmakers, who want to enter the House chamber.

“To ensure compliance with Capitol Police Board regulations concerning firearms and incendiary devices, as well as to provide a safe and secure environment in which to conduct legislative business, effective immediately, all persons, including Members, are required [to] undergo security screening when entering the House chamber,” said acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett in a memo.

He added that “failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber.”

Republicans blasted Democrats for installing them.

“They’re impeding the ability of members to come and vote,” Scalise, the minority whip, told The Hill, noting that there were already metal detectors set up at various entrances to the Capitol.

“They were strictly designed to impede the ability for members to come and vote. This is our job. This was never discussed by anybody, you don’t make a major change like this,” he added.

Jon Dougherty

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