HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks introduced a bill today that would allow members of Congress to carry firearms anywhere in the U.S. other than in the presence of the President and Vice President or on the Capitol grounds.
The Huntsville-area Congressman said the bill was necessary because members face a growing number of threats and are targets for extremists and terrorists. He said outside the Capitol, members currently have no way to protect themselves.
Brooks said the measure doesn’t include any particular training requirements for members.
In an interview with WHNT News 19 Tuesday afternoon, he said members are capable of deciding on their own if they need any firearms training.
“I defer to the judgment of our elected Congressmen and Senators,” Brooks said. “They are adults. They are targets, they are high-profile targets of terrorists and lone wolf attackers, and as such they are in a position to make their own decision about how much training they believe is necessary.”
The bill, entitled the Congressional Self Defense Act, was submitted less than a week after Brooks faced gunfire from an attacker at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va.
The gunman, James Hodgkinson, fired multiple rounds at the members on the field, striking House Whip Steve Scalice, R-La., two police officers, an aide and a lobbyist, before being taken down by shots from Scalice’s security detail.
Brooks recalled taking cover behind a batting cage and then dashing to the nearby dugout. He helped provide first aid to a man wounded in the attack and later provided assistance Scalice, who was badly wounded.
Brooks said he drafted the firearms for members of Congress bill last year, but this seemed an appropriate time to introduce it.
“Last week’s shooting at the Republican baseball practice highlighted and reinforced the increasing number of threats faced by Congressmen, Senators, and their families,” he said in a news release. “The truth is, if Steve Scalise’s leadership detail had not been present at last week’s practice, many of my colleagues and I might not be alive today. If Congressmen or Senators at the practice had firearms, there is a strong possibility that the shootout would have ended earlier than it did.”
Brooks told WHNT News 19 this afternoon that if his bill had been in place before the shooting, players on the field could have defended themselves.
“There were opportunities to have killed the shooter before the third, fourth, and fifth people were wounded,” Brooks said. “But inasmuch as none of us in the first base dugout had nothing other than baseballs and bats to him, we were not in a position to counter-attack.”
Brooks also called for passage of a measure that would recognize reciprocal concealed carry rights for gun owners who have a valid concealed carry permit in their home state. The measure would direct states with concealed carry laws to recognize the permits issued in other states.