One Republican lawmaker believes that concealed carry reciprocity for members of Congress should be considered as part of possible security upgrades after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot at practice for the congressional charity baseball game early Wednesday morning.
Under Rep. Barry Loudermilk's proposal, members who are allowed to conceal carry a weapon in their home state would be able to in Washington. Loudermilk, R-Ga., said the problem is that the nation's capital does not recognize concealed carry licenses from other states.
"There are several things to look at," Loudermilk said. "First of all, if this had happened in Georgia, he wouldn't have gotten too far. I had a staff member who was in his car, maybe 20 yards behind the shooter... who back in Georgia carries a nine millimeter in his car. I carry a weapon. He had a clear shot at him. But here, we're not allowed to carry any weapons here... Most of us are here in D.C., so how are you supposed to have it here?"
"I think we need to look at some kind of reciprocity for members here," Loudermilk said. "But also we need to look at security detail. If Scalise hadn't been on our team, it would have been really bad."
Scalise warrants a security detail because he's on the GOP leadership team.
"We aren't any more special than anybody else, but we're targets," Loudermilk said. "This is exactly why there's a lot of fear of doing town halls at this point."
Republicans have been promoting gun reciprocity bills for years. Most recently, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Richard Hudson introduced legislation calling for nationwide reciprocity that would require states to recognize concealed carry permits from other states. As of now, 41 states have at least partial reciprocity laws.
Earlier Wednesday, Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said that he plans to carry a handgun at public events.
"If you look at the vulnerability, I can assure you from this day forward, I have a carrier permit. I will be carrying when I'm out and about," Collins said in a radio interview in Buffalo.