Massie Offers Flawed Explanation for Refusal to Introduce Bill Allowing Guns in Capitol and Federal Buildings

Aug 5, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY), sponsor of a House-passed amendment that would prohibit the District of Columbia, including local police, from using its local funds to enforce its local gun laws, finally offered an answer to a question posed by Norton.  She asked why he had not introduced a bill to allow guns in the Capitol and other federal buildings, including those in Kentucky.  Under federal law, it is illegal to carry a gun in the Capitol (40 USC § 5104) and in other federal buildings (18 USC § 930 and 39 CFR 232.1).  Massie told Roll Call: “That’s a red herring…because here in the Capitol we have armed guards at every door and metal detectors.  It’s an environment that you can’t recreate on the streets of Washington, D.C., and if you could it might be safe.”

“Rep. Massie is wrong about the Capitol.  Despite ‘armed guards at every door and metal detectors,’ we lost two of our armed Capitol police officers in 1998 when an armed gunman shot his way into the Capitol.  The gunman survived and is now in a mental institution.  Moreover, guns are not allowed on the grounds of the Capitol complex, where there are no metal detectors or police checkpoints. 

“Even more to the point, Massie’s Fourth District Kentucky constituents surely would rather that he bring his gun focus home to help them rather than offering a bill that District residents strongly resent and reject.  Why hasn’t Massie offered a bill to allow guns in federal buildings, such as post offices, social security offices, or IRS offices that would affect his Kentucky constituents?  These federal buildings do not have armed security guards or metal detectors.  These federal offices are frequented by Massie’s constituents, but without a bill from Massie, they have to disarm before entering such federal offices.  Massie’s excuse for undemocratically thrusting himself into the business of a local jurisdiction that is not his own is that he wants to ‘restore gun rights anywhere I can.’  Why has Massie refused to ‘restore gun rights anywhere I can’ in federal buildings in Kentucky and elsewhere in the U.S.?  On federal building issues, he has direct, uncontested control.  There is simply no need to bully the District of Columbia, whose citizens cannot vote for or against him and whose delegate to Congress could not even vote on the Massie amendment on the House floor. 

“Massie has sponsored only ten bills, including the Citizens Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 133), which would repeal the federal law prohibiting the possession or discharge of a gun in a school zone.  Before he jumps into the gun safety business of the District of Columbia, he has business of his own to take care of to permit guns in federal buildings in Kentucky.”