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GOP Lawmaker: I Will Be Carrying a Gun Now

by Benjy Sarlin /
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., does a television interview at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia on Jan. 25, 2017.Bill Clark / AP

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WASHINGTON — Two members of Congress suggested on Wednesday that they and their staff members should carry guns in the wake of the shooting attack that wounded Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and others.

“You look at the vulnerability, I can assure you from this day forward, I have a carry permit, I will be carrying when I’m out and about,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), a close ally of President Trump in Congress, said in an interview with WKBW.

According to Collins, this was not his usual practice, but the attack prompted him to take a new approach.

“On a rare occasion I’d have my gun in the glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward,” Collins said.

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One of the Republicans who was present at the shooting, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), raised the issue as well, saying one of his aides could have had a “clear shot” at the gunman if they had a weapon.

“If this had happened in Georgia, he wouldn’t have gotten too far,” Loudermilk told reporters, according to the Washington Post. “I had a staff member who was in his car maybe 20 yards behind the shooter, who was pinned in his car, who back in Georgia carries a 9-millimeter in his car.”

Loudermilk suggested Washington's stricter gun laws discouraged members and their staff from carrying firearms and that Congress should consider "some kind of reciprocity" for members with permission to carry a weapon at home. Virginia, where the shooting happened, has more permissive laws regarding firearms.

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