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'A considerable amount': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says many members of Congress don't feel safe around colleagues

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)appeared Thursday on Cuomo Prime Time and spoke about the continuing threat of Republican lawmakers carrying guns onto the House floor. Ocasio-Cortez skipped President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, choosing instead to support striking grocery workers in the Bronx. But she said safety was a factor in that decision.

“I think we also had very real security concerns as well, as you mentioned earlier. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of congress,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “How much is ‘we’?” asked Chris Cuomo. Ocasio-Cortez responded, “I think a very considerable amount.”

Ocasio-Cortez cited Rep. Andy Harris as proof of a security threat. The Republican congressman from Maryland reportedly tried to sneak a gun into the House chamber but was stopped by Capitol police, at which point he reportedly tried passing it off to someone else.

Following the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, carried out in an attempt to stop the certification of Biden’s election victory, some House members have become suspicious that their Republican colleagues may have been in on it. Metal detectors were installed outside the House chamber as an extra precaution, but some members have attempted to flout the new safety measures. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Colorado Republican who has spoken openly about her desire to carry a gun with her at all times, reportedly clashed with Capitol police on the first day the metal detectors were installed. And some House members have just ignored them after setting them off.

“The moment you bring a gun onto the House floor in violation of rules, you put everyone around you in danger,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It is irresponsible. It is reckless. But beyond that, it is a violation of rules. You are openly disobeying the rules that we have established as a community, which means that you cannot be trusted to be held accountable to what we’ve decided as a community.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a hefty fine for lawmakers who bypass the metal detectors, but besides the financial liability, Ocasio-Cortez believes bringing a gun to the House floor creates an unnecessary danger.

“I don't care if you accidentally set it off. I don't care if you intentionally set it off. I don't care if you don't set it off at all. You are endangering the lives of members of congress,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And it is absolutely outrageous that we even have to have this conversation.”

Cuomo Prime Time airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on CNN.

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