Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) is introducing a measure that would ease restrictions on gun possession in Washington, allowing those with concealed-carry permits in their home states to carry weapons in the District.
The bill’s introduction came one day after a gunman opened fire in an Alexandria, Va., park upon a group of Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game. The attack left five people shot, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), who remains in the hospital in critical condition.
“What I’m trying to do is anticipate how to avoid a tragic situation in the future, and what the American people don’t realize is that most congressman do not have a security detail and we are as exposed as the general public is exposed as they come to visit our nation’s Capitol,” Massie said on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.”
Massie said his bill would also make it easier for non-D.C. residents to apply for concealed carry permits in Washington even if their home state does not offer such licenses.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who represents the District as a non-voting House member, immediately slammed Massie’s proposal, accusing him of exploiting Wednesday’s shooting and using Washington to advance a pro-gun agenda.
“In the wake of an attack, Representative Massie is shamefully using the District as political fodder to advance the NRA-backed goal of moving toward national concealed carry reciprocity,” she said in a statement, referring to the National Rifle Association.
“If Representative Massie was true to his principles, he would introduce a bill to allow guns in the Capitol Complex and other federal buildings, where his jurisdiction is without question.”
Because Scalise is the No. 3 Republican in the House, he was accompanied by a security detail that fired back at the shooter. Lawmakers have speculated that, without the armed defense, Wednesday’s shooting could have been much worse.
While the shooting happened in Virginia, which has relatively lax laws governing the carrying of firearms, several Republicans have argued in the wake of the attack that, because most lawmakers stay in Washington, they would have been unable to bring guns with them to Alexandria.
Washington has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and prohibits firearms from being openly carried. Concealed-carry permits in the District are tightly regulated, and those who wish to obtain one must meet certain criteria.