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Concern over member security muted
Most lawmakers silent on issue, but some call for protective measures
Question of the Day
“I think as a general policy, security measures should be left up to the Capitol Police, the sergeant-at-arms and other law enforcement agencies,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican.
A spokesman with House Speaker John A. Boehner’s office said the Ohio Republican has no plans to increase security budgets on Capitol Hill.
At least two House members who own firearms - Reps. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, and Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat - say they intend to carry a gun while attending certain events in their districts.
But Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer has asked lawmakers to avoid taking security matters into their own hands and to refrain from carrying firearms.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Mr. Gainer, a former Capitol Police chief, said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think we ought to leave the law enforcement security to those professionals.”
Mr. Gainer said 49 threats were made against senators in 2010, an increase from the previous year.
“When you think of the tens of thousands of interactions that members of the Senate or House have with the public, it’s actually very low,” he said.
Mr. Gainer said he doesn’t see a need to increase security on Capitol Hill.
“I think we have been on guard, especially since 2001,” prompted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said.
Mr. Gainer, along with House Sergeant-at-Arms Wilson Livingood, are scheduled to speak with members Wednesday regarding security matters.
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About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
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