Lawmakers who reportedly criticised Capitol metal detectors voted for them to stop school gun violence

 Several Republicans seen not complying with the new safety check, reports said

Louise Hall
Thursday 14 January 2021 18:43
House impeaches Donald Trump for inciting a bloody insurrection at the US Capitol

Some of the US lawmakers who were reported to have been critical of the use of metal detectors in the US Capitol or refused to use them have previously forced schools to introduce them as deterrent measures against gun violence.

In 2018, the Republican-led House passed the STOP School Violence Act which proposed security provisions intended to help prevent gun violence in schools, including metal detectors.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep John Rutherford, included a programme of security “including the placement and use of metal detectors and other deterrent measure and emergency notification and response technologies.”

Among those who voted to pass the bill are a number of Republican representatives who are reported to have complained or refused to use metal detectors placed in the Capitol following the riots on 6 January.

On Wednesday, numerous reports said several Republicans were seen not complying with the new safety check or complaining to police about the measures, which were ordered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Representatives Steve Scalise, Steve Stivers, Larry Bucshon, Louie Gohmert, who all voted in favour of the STOP Act were among the representatives reported having protested the detectors upon entrance to the House.

NBC News reported that Rep Scalise, who survived a shooting during a congressional baseball game in 2017, told reporters that the extra layer of security was unnecessary and criticised Pelosi for "impeding" members from voting.

According to HuffPost, Rep Stivers told Capitol police officers that he thinks making lawmakers use metal detectors is “unconstitutional”.

However, when it came to the issue of using metal detectors in schools, Rep Stivers said in a statement that he supported the measure among other controls.

Rep Stivers told The Independent that he had “never disobeyed any instructions given by Capitol police."

“Since the magnetometers were installed at the entrances to the House Floor yesterday, I’ve passed through them each time I’ve gone to vote without incident,” he said in a statement.

The representative noted that he had asked an officer to “pass along my information to those who made this decision” due to concerns over the “constitutionality of said decision."

“I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, and am extremely disappointed by efforts to mischaracterise my actions,” he added.

Rep Louie Gohmert reportedly told officers: “You can’t stop me, I’m on my way to a vote” before walking around the magnetometer outside the House chamber.

Rep Scalise, Rep Bucshon and Rep Gohmert did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Independent.

Among the other House members who reportedly refused to comply with the detectors on their entrance to the floor included Rep Van Taylor of Texas, Rep Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and Rep Debbie Lesko of Arizona.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has since proposed penalising House members who bypass new security protections introduced since last week’s assault on the Capitol.

“It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe," the House speaker said in a statement.

Many rioters who looted and vandalised the Capitol building on 6 January, forcing lawmakers to evacuate, were armed with guns or other weapons.

Following the riots, Democratic Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she “did not even feel safe” during the Capitol evacuation due to certain Republican representatives ties to extremist beliefs.

“There were QAnon and white supremacist sympathisers and frankly white supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point who I know and who I had felt would disclose my location and allow me to, who would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etcetera,” she said.

Five people died as a result of the violence including one Capitol police officer who was beaten as he tried to ward off the crowds.

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