BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R – AL) wants to make it legal for members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to carry guns in the nation’s capital. Brooks was at softball practice in Alexandria, VA with his fellow Republican lawmakers Wednesday, when a gunman unleashed a spray of bullets on the field.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R – LA) was shot and remains in the hospital in serious condition. Four others, including two Capitol Police officers, who ultimately killed the gunman, were also shot.
Brooks would come to find out in the days after the shooting that he was on a hit list written by the gunman, identified as James Hodgkinson of Illinois.
“That re-enforces the threat that you face as a United States congressman,” Brooks told CBS 42 Monday. “If you’re an elected official, then you tend to be elevated in the eyes of the lone wolves and the terrorists, beyond the regular citizenry.” He said that by the end of last week, he’d almost entirely drafted a bill that would allow U.S. lawmakers to carry guns.
“This may sound crazy, but in Washington, DC, I’m not allowed to carry a concealed weapon so that I can defend myself,” Brooks said.
The District of Columbia has notoriously strict gun laws.
The Metropolitan Police Department writes on its website, “In general, carrying a firearm in the district is prohibited.”
Moreover, all firearms must be registered with the district, which does not recognize permits from any of the 50 states.
Brooks said that had he or any of his colleagues been armed Wednesday, he believes the shooting would have ended with fewer injuries.
“We could have gotten to the shooter before he did that much damage, if just one of us had had a gun,” Brooks said. “We could’ve used the third base dugout as a shield, he wouldn’t have seen us. We could have snuck up on him, and as he’s shooting in the right field direction, we could have got him from the side.”
Brooks said he feels safe in the U.S. Capitol building, but off campus, “That’s when we need protection,” he said. “When we’re sitting ducks, we have nobody to help us but ourselves.”
Brooks said the bill would not allow for lawmakers to carry firearms inside the Capitol.
Brooks plans to introduce the bill this week. He told CBS 42 that he has already heard “vibes” that Democrats do not support the legislation, and that one Republican expressed reservations.
“By and large, when we’re in DC, we are high profile targets and we need the ability to defend ourselves,” Brooks said. “I hope we’ll get the votes in the House and the Senate to pass this.”