Huffman, Speier Renew Efforts to Increase Gun Safety in the U.S. Capitol

Members Reintroduce Bill to Hold Members of Congress to the Same Standard as Everyone Else to Ensure Safety of All

January 28, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Representative Jackie Speier (D- Hillsborough) reintroduced the No Congressional Gun Loophole Act, which would exclude Members of Congress and staff from the Capitol Police Board’s exemption for firearms on Capitol Grounds. While in the Capitol and House office buildings, the legislation would explicitly prevent Members from possessing firearms, nullifying the Capitol Police Board regulations that allow this, and would require Members of Congress to comply with District of Columbia gun safety and registration requirements. Currently, the over-50-year-old regulation exempts Members of Congress from the firearm rules that apply to everyone else who visits or works at the U.S. Capitol.

“I’ve been pushing for years to change this outdated rule, knowing there was an inevitable risk in allowing Members to carry guns in the Capitol,” said Rep. Huffman. “While we’d like to think we could rely on common decency, we now have colleagues who are QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers, incite violence and insurrection, and have even bragged about bringing guns into the House Chamber. You can't have an honor system with dishonorable people who think the rules don't apply to them. Members of Congress should not be above the law. These outdated and dangerous rules must be modernized. For everyone’s safety, Members of Congress must be subject to the same gun restrictions that apply to everyone else who visits or works in the Capitol.”

“As a survivor of gun violence, I know what it’s like to battle for your life after being shot five times and left for dead. And statistics show that accidents happen when there are firearms around. The existing exemption for Representatives increases the risk of gun violence for Members, staff, and the public. It’s long past time we close the Member loophole and protect all who enter the Capitol complex,” Rep. Speier said.

This renewed effort follows the increase in violence at the Capitol and reports of Members violating existing rules preventing them from carrying weapons on the House Floor. Last December, following increased attention to the current rules during Freshmen Member Orientation following the 2020 election Rep. Huffman led a letter to House leadership requesting a change in House Rules for the 117th Congress to ensure that Members of Congress are held to the same firearm safety rules as the public while they are on Capitol grounds. This rule change was not included in the 117th Congress House Rules package. Currently, Members of Congress are exempt from the firearms prohibition in 40 U.S.C. § 5104 under the Capitol Police Board’s regulations.

Huffman and Speier were joined in this legislation by Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA), Cynthia Axne (D-IA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Sean Casten (D-IL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Ed Case (D-HI),  Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Andre Carson (D-IL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Donald S. Beyer (D-VA), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Suuzanne Bonimici (D-WA), Mark Desaulnier (D-CA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Dan Kildee (D-MI).

A copy of the bill text can be found here.