Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
April 28, 2022
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DCHouse Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) sent a third letter to the House Sergeant-at-Arms William J. Walker, calling again for a ban on the use of firearms in the U.S. Capitol. The letter, sent last night, follows two previous letters to the Capitol Police Board asking for clarity around firearm safety in the Capitol Complex.

In the first letter, Leader Hoyer urged the Board to brief Members and clarify for all that, with the exception of law enforcement, the possession of firearms is not permitted outside of Members’ ability to possess firearms in their personal offices. The second letter asked that, in addition to such a briefing, the Board assess whether a complete ban on firearms in the U.S. Capitol building, in the House office buildings, in other House facilities, and on the grounds could be implemented as well as that it take a number of concrete steps to ensure that Members and visitors understand the rules about firearm safety. Responding to recent Member concerns about the prevalence of firearms, the third letter calls for further clarity around a ban on firearms in the U.S. Capitol Complex. From the letter:

“I write to ask that you share with me your view on how the security of the Capitol complex can be enhanced and, specifically, the question of whether the Capitol Complex ought to be made a fully gun-free zone, outside of Capitol Police and other authorized law enforcement.  Right now, some aspects of existing regulation concerning the possession of firearms in the Capitol Complex or on its grounds are unclear or ambiguous in the understanding of some Members, who believe they have a right to carry personal firearms in these spaces, including committee rooms where they are engaged in committee business.”
 
Leader Hoyer’s letter goes on to say, “[i]n light of the disturbing news that a Member was detained by police for a second time yesterday at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, after again trying to bring a loaded firearm onto a commercial flight, it is essential that we have a clear and unambiguous policy in place regarding gun safety in the Capitol Complex and grounds. This matter concerns the safety and wellbeing of every individual who serves in Congress, who works in the legislative branch, who visits his or her representative’s office, who tours the historic U.S. Capitol, and who stands guard here as part of the Capitol Police or other law enforcement agency.”

To read the letter in full, click here or see below:
 

April 27, 2022
 
Hon. William J. Walker
Sergeant-at-Arms
U.S. House of Representatives
Chair, Capitol Police Board
119 D Street NE
Washington, DC 20510
 
Dear Sergeant Walker:
 
I appreciate the seriousness with which you and the other members of the Capitol Police Board have been addressing the concerns I raised in my letters of December 14 and January 19 about keeping the Capitol Complex safe from dangerous firearms.  I want to thank you for continuing to keep me and other Members updated on progress being made to ensure the security of all who serve, work, and visit here as well to make gun safety regulations stronger and clearer. 
 
To that end, I write to ask that you share with me your view on how the security of the Capitol complex can be enhanced and, specifically, the question of whether the Capitol Complex ought to be made a fully gun-free zone, outside of Capitol Police and other authorized law enforcement.  Right now, some aspects of existing regulation concerning the possession of firearms in the Capitol Complex or on its grounds are unclear or ambiguous in the understanding of some Members, who believe they have a right to carry personal firearms in these spaces, including committee rooms where they are engaged in committee business. 
 
In light of the disturbing news that a Member was detained by police for a second time yesterday at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, after again trying to bring a loaded firearm onto a commercial flight, it is essential that we have a clear and unambiguous policy in place regarding gun safety in the Capitol Complex and grounds.  This matter concerns the safety and wellbeing of every individual who serves in Congress, who works in the legislative branch, who visits his or her representative’s office, who tours the historic U.S. Capitol, and who stands guard here as part of the Capitol Police or other law enforcement agency.  I hope that you and your Capitol Police Board colleagues will move swiftly to adopt proposed changes to Police Board Regulations Pertaining to Firearms, Explosives, Incendiary Devices, and Other Dangerous Weapons (October 31, 1967) to reflect today’s security challenges. 
 
The highest priority for the Capitol Police Board must continue to be the safety and security of Members, staff, employees, visitors, and law enforcement officers.   
 
I appreciate your continued consideration of this important matter, and I look forward to your response outlining your view on this matter.
 
Sincerely,
 
STENY H. HOYER
U.S. House Majority Leader