Hoyer calls for 'clear and prudent firearms guidelines' from Capitol Police Board

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Friday, November 19, 2021 after the Build Back Act vote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Friday, November 19, 2021 after the Build Back Act vote.
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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called for "clear and prudent firearms guidelines" from the Capitol Police Board in a letter to all four of its members.

"I understand that the CPB intends to meet as soon as this week, and it is my hope that you will use this opportunity to discuss necessary revisions to your current firearms regulations," Hoyer wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. "I respectfully request serious consideration of the following proposed changes to Police Board Regulations Pertaining to Firearms, Explosives, Incendiary Devices, and Other Dangerous Weapons."

The House majority leader proposed changes to the firearms guidance including language that prohibits lawmakers and Capitol Hill personnel from carrying firearms in the Capitol Complex. The rules would not apply to Capitol Hill law enforcement, and there would be several exceptions. In addition, Hoyer proposed assessing current rules to see if a ban on bringing firearms inside the Capitol Complex for lawmakers should be instituted.

The letter was addressed to House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper Karen Gibson, Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton and Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger.

"As I've said time and again, the safety and security of Members of Congress, staff, employees, visitors, and all individuals in the buildings and on the grounds of the Capitol complex is of the highest priority," Hoyer said. "I will stand firm in my commitment to advocating for Members' accessibility to clear and prudent firearms guidelines in order to prevent further ambiguity and ensure compliance with the rules."

Currently, lawmakers are allowed to transport firearms on Capitol grounds and have them in their offices.

An official familiar told The Hill the Capitol Police Board will likely respond directly to Hoyer about the letter.

The letter from Hoyer follows another one he sent to the Capitol Police Board last month that called for the board to provide an update on a review of bringing firearms onto Capitol grounds.

"The presence of deadly firearms only raises the dangers of a violent incident, an accidental discharge, or some other preventable tragedy," Hoyer wrote in mid-December. "That is why it is essential that rules and regulations regarding where personal firearms may or may not be carried must be communicated clearly to Members."

The letters from the majority leader come one year after the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Following the riot that saw the deaths of several people, including members of the Capitol Police, metal detectors were instituted in the entranceways to the House floor. Members are required to be screened before appearing to vote.

Several members have faced fines for walking past the security procedure. Others have called for ways to expedite the operation and invest in better equipment.

"I'm really looking forward to an update on how we're going to restore a little bit of decorum to just the act of walking into the chambers and making sure that nobody's carrying," Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) told the Capitol Police Board.

Updated on Jan. 20 at 2:09pm