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Hoyer calls for update on review of regulations for carrying firearms in House office buildings

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Friday, November 19, 2021 after the Build Back Act vote.
Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in a letter on Tuesday is calling for an update on a review of policies regarding guns on Capitol grounds. 

“The presence of deadly firearms only raises the dangers of a violent incident, an accidental discharge, or some other preventable tragedy,” Hoyer writes in the letter. “That is why it is essential that rules and regulations regarding where personal firearms may or may not be carried must be communicated clearly to Members.”

The letter was written to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson, House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker, Capitol Architect Brett Blanton and Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger.

“I hope that, as the Board continues to identify other ways to maintain the highest levels of safety on Capitol Hill, you will consider ensuring that committee rooms, hearing rooms, and other areas of public gathering will always be firearm-free,” he wrote, adding that “the Speaker already took action to ban firearms in the Hall of the House.”

Hoyer also cited incidents including the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and “heinous threats made by certain Members against colleagues while on the grounds of the Capitol” as reasons to consider his proposed safety policies.

While lawmakers are exempt from most security screenings in the Capitol, they must go through a magnetometer before entering the House chamber, a requirement Democrats instated after Jan. 6 to prevent weapons from being brought inside. 

Members of Congress are, however, currently permitted to keep guns in their offices or transport them elsewhere on the grounds of the Capitol.

In January, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) almost brought a concealed gun into the chamber but was caught in a security screening.

Hoyer has previously called for increasing gun-related restrictions, such as with the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which the House approved in March.

“Nine out of 10 Americans support the reforms in this bill. That includes a majority of Republicans and a majority of responsible gun owners,” Hoyer said at the time. “This is one of the greatest examples of legislation that truly reflects the will of the American people.”

Tags Andy Harris Guns House offices jan. 6 Steny Hoyer

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