Politico, oi vey:
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz are asking for help in bringing unloaded guns to Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing.
The senators have run into hurdles with local and federal law enforcement.
“In anticipation of tomorrow’s hearing on gun control, we instructed our staff to work to ensure various unloaded firearms, under law enforcement supervision, could be brought into the hearing,” Graham and Cruz, wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. “Our offices worked with various officials in local and federal law enforcement, as well as the Senate Sergeant at Arms, but it appears that the requirements to secure the weapons at the hearing are so impractical as to be unworkable.”
Yes, folks, apparently it's very, very hard to enter the United States Capitol with even an unloaded firearm! This is due both to gun laws in place throughout the District of Columbia, as well as (obviously) heavier restrictions inside the U.S. Capitol itself. We would think this would fall under the heading of, you know, common sense, but there's lots of history to explain prohibition of guns inside the Capitol too. The first that came to mind for us occurred in 1954:
On March 1st, 1954 the United States Capitol was under attack and five Members of Congress were shot.
The attackers, Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andres Figueroa Cordero, and Irving Flores Rodríguez, displayed a Puerto Rican flag before shooting. The four were part of a Puerto Rican nationalist gang that tried to assassinate President Truman in 1950.
They opened fire from the visitor’s gallery of the House of Representatives. After shooting over 30 rounds at 240 Representatives, the four Puerto Ricans wounded five members: Alvin Bentley of Michigan, Ben Jensen of Iowa, Clifford Davis of Tennessee, George Fallon of Maryland, and Kenneth Roberts of Alabama. All five survived.
Wait, crazy people and terrorists might want to shoot at members of Congress from the galleries? Come to think of it, yes! They might! And that's a pretty unassailably good reason to keep guns out of the place.
And of course, no history student can forget the 1856 beating of Sen. Charles Sumner by Rep. Preston Brooks with a cane–evidence at least of the kinds of passions that can be stoked under the Capitol dome. True, canes aren't banned, but guns are substantially easier to hurt people with than canes, and a gun is not really a "dual use technology" like, well, a cane. Anyway, guns are hard to bring into the Capitol, and that, all told, is a very good thing.
And no matter how cool it may be to lovingly fondle a gun during a hearing (maybe shortening that hearing considerably), it kind of seems like gratuitous machismo not worth bending security rules over?
In fact, we're really not sure about the advisability of Republican politicians pushing the limits of gun laws as we debate the response to mass shootings. It seems a bit disrespectful, but maybe we're just quaint like that.