New metal detectors placed outside House chambers
Metal detectors are being installed outside of the House chambers in the Capitol that everyone, including members, must pass through to get to the floor in the wake of last Wednesday’s breach of the building.
A notice sent by Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett said the new screening process for anyone looking to enter the chamber, will go into effect immediately.
“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,” Blodgett wrote.
The metal detectors will be at select entrances to the chamber, according to Blodgett, who added that “failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber.”
A notice to journalists who use the House Daily Press Gallery informed reporters that magnetometers will be set up outside of the press gallery office space for everyone going into the chamber starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will remain in effect “every day the House is in session for the foreseeable future.”
“This new requirement is being imposed on everyone entering the House Chamber, including members of the House,” the Press Gallery notice read. “We understand this is being done at the request of the lawmakers themselves to ensure their safety after last Wednesday’s attack.”
The new security measures comes less than one week after five people died, including a Capitol Police officer, after a mob of President Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, breaking windows, ransacking offices and defacing statues.
The Senate chamber itself was breached and a woman who attempted the enter the Speaker’s Lobby through a broken glass window pane was shot by a Capitol Police officer.
Law enforcement officials are gearing up for the possibility of future attacks on the Capitol and state legislatures leading up to and including the day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
A seven-foot “non-scalable fence” was placed along the perimeter of the Capitol, which will be in place for at least 30 days, and the Department of Defense has authorized the National Guard Bureau to deploy up to 15,000 Guard members for support on Inauguration Day.
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