Sunday, November 29, 2015         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Lawmakers planning to carry weapons

By Charles Babington and Donna Cassata

Associated Press


WASHINGTON » Several lawmakers vowed yesterday to arm themselves after the Arizona shootings despite the Senate's top law enforcement officer's admonition that more guns was not the answer.

"It's not that I'm going to be like Wyatt Earp," declared U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., who said he was reapplying for a state permit to carry a concealed weapon even if he did not necessarily plan to carry one to public events.

In a Capitol already ringed by concrete stanchions and armed guards, members of Congress struggled to come up with new ways to ensure their safety in a democracy suddenly shaken by an assassin's bullets. Republican and Democratic leaders signaled that closer coordination with local law enforcement was a practical first step after the shootings that left six dead and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded.

Beyond that, talk centered on legislation that would make it a crime to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of elected or high-ranking federal officials at publicly announced events and a proposal to install a Plexiglas enclosure to protect the House floor from gallery spectators — two ideas unlikely to get much traction in the new Congress. Democrats also called for rolling back a 5 percent, GOP-engineered cut in congressional spending and redirecting the money to security.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, seemed cool to the idea. "We will rely on the recommendations of the sergeant-at-arms and the Capitol police," he said.

A security briefing for lawmakers was scheduled for this morning.

Questioned about lawmakers taking matters into their own hands by carrying weapons, Terrance Gainer, the Senate's sergeant-at-arms and former Washington, D.C., police chief, said it would not solve the problem.

"I don't think it's a good idea," Gainer told ABC's "Good Morning America." "I don't think introducing more guns into the situation is going to be helpful."

Gainer said threats to Senate members had increased over the past year to 49. But he said he considered the number small given all the interactions that lawmakers have with the public.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, still plans to carry his handgun at public events, his office said, despite Gainer's remarks. "It's a personal choice," said Chaffetz spokeswoman Alisia Essig.

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., also said he plans to carry a concealed handgun more often. He obtained a permit after an angry constituent threatened his life in 2009.

Some lawmakers questioned whether sweeping changes to congressional security are logistically or politically possible.

"The body is just too large. I don't think democracy ever anticipated that there would be problems like this," said U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-Conn.

Threats against lawmakers are not uncommon, but actual violence is quite rare.


Familiar turf for lawyer of Tucson shooting rampage suspect

Giffords moved to nearby rehab hospital in Houston

Tucson shootings reawaken pain from Virginia Tech

Survivors of rampage in Tucson struggle with 'What if?'

Husband broke down after incorrect Giffords report

Martin Luther King III: Arizona shootings underscore father's message

Hundreds come out for Arizona girl's funeral

Some question pep rally atmosphere at Obama speech

Major milestone: Wounded Giffords moves arms, legs

Documents detail Arizona suspect's college outbursts

Officials: Frenetic morning for rampage suspect

Shooting suspect fell through mental health cracks

Obama tells polarized nation: 'We can be better'

Church agrees to not protest Arizona funerals

Emotional House pays tribute to Arizona victims

Palin: Journalists incite hatred after shooting

Hundreds attend Mass to remember victims

Lawmakers planning to carry weapons

Legislators approve ban on protests near funerals

Alleged shooter's written notes point to plans

Rapid progress by Giffords prompts optimistic prognosis

Tucson suspect's troubles did not keep him from gun

Lawmakers vote to ban picketing at Tucson funerals

Top lawyer to represent accused Arizona gunman

Parents of Arizona shooting suspect apologize; investigators reveal new details

A tragedy in Tucson, and more arguing on talk TV

Defense attorney a death penalty trial ace

Suspect held as U.S. reflects

Arizona suspect could face death in deadly attack

Insanity defense difficult for shooting suspect

Abercrombie orders state flags at half-staff for Arizona shooting victims

Dallas Green thanks baseball family for support

Dad remembers slain aide as friendly, steady, kind

Congresswoman's condition stable; 8 hospitalized

Unclear whether shooter's motivation was political

9-year-old shooting victim was aspiring politician

Thumbnail sketches of victims in Tucson shooting

Congresswoman's intern stanched blood from gunshot

Arizona tragedy gives Congress reason to reflect

Authorities charge man, 22, with assassination try

Investigators examine possible link to anti-government group

Doctors optimistic, but Giffords in for long recovery

Obama calls for moment of silence Monday morning

Shooting suspect's nihilism rose with isolation

Shooting suspect's campus troubles led to suspension, officials say

Dallas Green's grandchild killed in Arizona shooting

'A tragedy for our entire country'

Stunned isle leaders have hope for recovery

Giffords: A Democrat who wins in conservative district

Tucson rampage casts light on toxic political tone

Arizona Rep. Giffords shot, 6 killed in rampage

Arizona's chief fed judge among shooting victims

Giffords among lawmakers getting threats last year

Isles' U.S. House members, governor, have kind words for Giffords

McCain: Shooting a 'terrible, terrible' tragedy

 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions

Latest News/Updates