The National Rifle Association has agreed to provide firearms training to House and Senate lawmakers and their staffs in the wake of this month's baseball gun attack.
At the urging of Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, who had a staffer pitching at the time of the shooting by James Hodgkinson, 66, from Belleville, Ill., the NRA said it is ready to help.
"There is no doubt that the heinous attack that occurred in Virginia last week would have been even worse without the heroic actions of the Capitol Police," wrote Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA's lobby shop, the Institute for Legislative Action.
"Unfortunately, however, law enforcement cannot be present everywhere, at all times. This reality has led more americans than ever to choose to lawfully carry a firearm for self-defense," he added.
The NRA headquarters, just 30 minutes from Washington, has a gun range in which the group provides extensive training. The U.S. Capitol Police also have a range.
In the shooting, several were hurt, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise whose police guard returned fire and killed Hodgkinson. Scalise, shot in the hip, was just upgraded to fair condition.
In his letter to Cox, Strange noted that carrying a weapon is good self defense.
"A member of my own staff was on the pitching mound that morning. As I briefed my staff about the shooting, it occurred to me that everyone in that room is a potential target of a similar attack, as is every citizen in this country. It also occurred to me that I have a responsibility to ensure that the people in my charge are prepared for the worst, should it happen," he wrote.
In asking for a congressional training program, he wrote that he wants to make sure Hill workers "have the skills necessary to survive an active-shooter situation and to safely handle a firearm. As was proven this week, proper training can lead to the attacker being neutralized and lives being saved."
The Alabama news site Yellowhammer first reported on the letters.
Strange is a supporter of national concealed carry reciprocity legislation.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org