Introduced by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., on Friday passed legislation that would allow congressional employees to carry legally owned weapons in self-defense to and from Capitol Hill and to store them safely while on the job.
The Safe Storage Lockers for House Office Buildings Act would require the Capitol Police to install and operate lockers at the entrances of House office buildings where workers can store their weapons.
In Washington, DC, individuals are permitted by law to carry and use certain weapons for self-defense, including self-defense sprays, stun guns and concealed handguns. However, both DC and federal law prohibit individuals from carrying these weapons inside a federal building.
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As a practical matter, therefore, people who work in federal buildings generally cannot carry concealed weapons with them to and from work.
Steube’s bill would solve this problem. The real force for the law, however, is rising crime in DC, which he blames on Democratic governance.
“Violent crime is on the rise across the country, enabled by disastrous soft-on-crime Democrat policies,” Steube said in a statement. “Sadly, our nation’s capital is returning to total lawlessness and violent disorder. Today, I am introducing legislation to ensure that congressional employees have the right to defend themselves in crime-ridden DC”
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“My bill is simple,” Steube said. “Any employee who is legally permitted to carry a firearm, stun gun, or self-defense spray will be able to carry those weapons on their commute to a House Office Building and safely store the weapon until they are ready. leave the building.”
Steube introduced his bill two days after the The Senate voted overwhelmingly, in bipartisan fashion, to block the Washington, DC, city council’s dramatic overhaul of its criminal code. Republicans and many Democrats complained that the measure would ease criminal penalties in a city already suffering from rising crime rates. The House has previously voted to repeal the DC law.
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When the resolution is signed by President Bidenas expected, it will mark the first time Congress has acted to roll back DC’s self-imposed regulations in more than three decades, using the power Congress has under the Constitution.
The proposed DC law would have lowered the maximum penalties for crimes like carjacking, robbery and burglary, while raising them for murders. Almost all misdemeanor charges also included the right to a jury trial, and minimum sentences for most crimes would have been eliminated.
Last year, DC reached 200 kills in consecutive years for the first time since 2003, and the nation’s capital is currently on pace for a third consecutive year of 200 or more murders.
The press release from Steube’s office noted that many employees who work in House office buildings in DC commute to and from their offices by walking.