Georgia congressman calls shooting 'senseless act of evil'

Elias Hubbard
June 19, 2017

In the hours after the shooting, Republicans and Democrats alike struggled to reassess their protection and engagement with the public, outside the protective bubble of the Capitol.

A few politicians have admitted to carrying guns in their home districts if state laws allow them to do so, and some argue they should be allowed to do so in Washington too.

They must lead by example.

Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape - but he is a real fighter.

By then, the two Capitol Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, were in an intense, close-range firefight with the gunman, later identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois.

Loudermilk is not the only congressman to float the idea of allowing lawmakers to tote guns in the wake of Wednesday morning's shooting. House Speaker Paul Ryan met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week to discuss protocols and rules, according to Ryan's spokeswoman.

A gunman opened fire with a rifle on the group for a prolonged period until he was killed by police officers, according to the Washington Post and other media reports.

"I had a staff member who was in his auto, maybe 20 yards behind the shooter ... who back in Georgia carries a nine millimeter in his vehicle".

"Jeff and I believe that the individual who committed the attack was the same individual who approached us", DeSantis said.

With the U.S. Capitol complex under heightened security the day after the shooting in Virginia at a practice for Republicans preparing for the Congressional Baseball Game, members of Congress are debating whether it's time to adopt new security measures. Firearms can be openly carried without a permit, and the state issues permits to carry concealed weapons. Meanwhile, in Alexandria, a permit for gun ownership is not required neither does the city require for guns to be registered.

"Most of us are here in D.C., so how do you have the gun here and just transport it to Virginia?" "I think we need to look at some kind of reciprocity for members here".

Loudermilk isn't the only member to note the additional injuries or fatalities could have occurred had armed members of the Capitol police not been there.

"We're not any more special than anybody else, but we are targets", he said.

"And the only reason they were there is because we had a member of leadership on our team".

The congresswoman who represents the district, Eleanor Holmes Norton, accused Massie of exploiting the shooting. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) recounted an attempted firebombing of his Kansas City office in 2014.

This is despite the reported threats that many of them receive. "But even if they are political, we all need to understand that we sometimes need to lower the rhetoric in political circles, and in the media, that does not raise the fears and the apprehensions of people that would lead them to do things like this". "I'd do a stand-alone bill about members' safety or change a rule, to make sure the 435 members who take this oath to the Constitution to take this job are safe and their families are safe", Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who serves as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters Thursday.

U.S. Capitol Police announced it was investigating the shooting and beefed up security around the Capitol complex as a precaution.

Uniformed officers are usually stationed outside the visitors entrances to congressional office buildings.

More commonly they organise their own security - including with the help of local police - for events like town hall meetings, which can get heated and draw protesters.

They also carry wallets.

Hatch took to the Senate floor Wednesday to thank by name each of the 23 agents who protect him and his wife, Elaine.

Currently, most members of Congress are not provided security detail by Washington.

During the hearing, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), reminded her GOP colleagues that threats against lawmakers are common. "It's a lot of the same".

The baseball practice was reportedly accompanied by a security detail attached to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. "Fortunately, most every member was able to take cover, and he didn't shoot (Scalise further)", he said.

Organizers said Wednesday afternoon that the game would continue as planned.

"I don't think any of us at this point know what the motivations were", the two-term Republican said in an interview Wednesday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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