Rattled by shooting, lawmakers want more personal protection – Rachael Bade 06/15/2017 06:21 PM EDT

Some Republican lawmakers are seeking to carry personal firearms into the Capitol, a proposal that is alarming Democrats.

Rep. Chris Collins is pictured. | Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Chris Collins of New York argued Thursday that had the shooting occurred in his home state, the suspect “wouldn’t have gotten too far.”
| Getty

Lawmakers are debating a range of heightened security measures following Wednesday’s shooting that critically injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, with a growing number of Republicans even seeking to carry their own guns into the Capitol for personal safety.

Rattled by the mass shooting by a gunman with an apparent political agenda, lawmakers are struggling with how to balance ensuring security for members of Congress while keeping themselves accessible to voters.

The gamut of options includes new rules ramping up the law enforcement presence at big group events with lawmakers, equipping Capitol Police with more advanced weapons, and allowing individual members to spend taxpayer or campaign dollars on personal security measures.

And several GOP lawmakers want the green light to bring their personal firearms onto the Capitol grounds, a move that immediately alarmed Democrats who favor tougher gun restrictions.

“If that security detail had not been at that ball field, I shudder to think that the results would have been more than four or five casualties,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said in an interview. “And I believe if reciprocity had been extended to those members, they would have at least had a firearm in their vehicle.”

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