In a sometimes-heated hearing on Wednesday, Republican members of the House Natural Resources Committee scored a big victory by scuttling a move by panel Democrats to prohibit firearms from being carried into the group's proceedings, as the Washington Examiner reports.
Democrat Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced the amendment during the panel's organizing meeting at which committee rules are set for the next two years.
According to Huffman's proposal, committee members would be explicitly banned from bringing firearms into the panel's hearing or conference rooms, a restriction he declared “sadly necessary” in the wake of the GOP-led Rules Committee decision to eliminate a Natural Resources committee rule previously adopted by Democrats following the Jan. 6 Capitol unrest, as Fox News noted.
Huffman's amendment was ultimately rejected in a party-line vote by a margin of 25-14, and the debate that preceded that outcome was at times quite adversarial in nature.
At one point in the conversation, Huffman asked for a show of hands among those present to determine who was carrying a weapon and who was unarmed, a rhetorical ploy in which Republicans declined to take part.
The California Democrat then seemed to take aim directly at the outspoken Second Amendment advocates on the panel such as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), saying that certain lawmakers were guilty of “flouting” federal laws banning members of Congress from bringing loaded weapons to the Capitol.
“They have openly fetishized guns and violence to the point where one of my colleagues across the aisle was removed from their committee assignments for portraying himself killing another member who sits on this very same committee,” Huffman added, referring to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who was censured by the House in 2021 after sharing an animated video on social media depicting violence against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Boebert was having none of Huffman's arguments, however, declaring the proposal to be an “anti-member safety amendment” and a “political stunt” that was wasting the committee's time.
A longtime, self-declared gun rights proponent, Boebert made reference to the rampant crime in the nation's capital, adding, “With threats against member of Congress at an all-time high, I would like to remind the gentleman that now is now the time to be stripping members of our constitutional right to defend ourselves.”
When members were pressed by Huffman on whether they truly felt they needed a weapon on Capitol grounds, Boebert replied, “I feel I need one everywhere here. There are often times we are harassed in the hallways. We walk alone.”
Boebert's comments on Wednesday echoed arguments she made in late 2020 before taking her seat in Congress for the first time, when she blasted a Democrat-led effort to block legislators from carrying guns at the Capitol, something Fox News reported at the time.
“The Democrats are always up for stripping away our Constitutional rights and feel threatened when we simply want to exercise those rights. I carry a firearm to protect myself and want to exercise my right to do so in one of the most dangerous cities in America,” Boebert said.
Highlighting the dangers faced by anyone – particularly females walking alone – in an urban center such as D.C., Boebert said back in 2020, “It's a shame that Rep. Jared Huffman wants to bar young women from protecting themselves in one of the most dangerous cities in our country.”
“I'm not walking around with security. I am the security,” Boebert declared just before the start of her first term in Congress, and now that she has returned for a second, she can continue on in that respect even when taking part in Natural Resources panel proceedings, despite Huffman's efforts to deprive her of that ability.