Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee defeated an effort from Democrats to enact a ban on having guns in the committee room, Politico reports.
“We can have our political disagreements, and they will be spirited. But no one should have to worry about members of the other side of the aisle — let alone members who have incited political violence — bringing weapons, in violation of House rules, into our committee room," Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) said.
During debate over the issue, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) asked "if we're in this point of just having to all take our safety into our own hands, does the chair believe that members of Congress should also be pursuing legal avenues in order to protect ourselves as well?"
Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) replied that "the chair believes that's an issue to take up with the House Admin, and the chair also believes we should be focusing on the issues that this committee is chartered to focus on."
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That's when Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) chimed in, pointing out that members of the committee said that they plan to bring guns into the committee room, adding that "to simply say it's up to every member to interpret the rules when you have reason to believe that committee members right here intend to bring weapons into this committee room -- Mr. Chairman, we're entitled to your interpretation of the House rules -- you need to tell them whether that's okay or not for the safety and security of this committee."
Ocasio Cortez then suggested that members be allowed to ask whether or not another member is carrying a firearm, but she was interrupted by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), who asked if either Huffman or Ocasio Cortez "has reason to believe that there's a homicidal maniac" within the committee.
"If they do, they probably would have brought a gun into this room whether or not there is a law, and I would challenge them right now to present their evidence. Name the names and present the evidence before such a catastrophe confronts us."
Ocasio Cortez replied that she wasn't making any specific accusations, but was interrupted again by McClintock, who challenged her to name anyone she doesn't trust to carry a firearm.
"I believe that from what I've witnessed, the competence of some members may be something that I'd be willing to question," Ocasio Cortez fired back.
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