Rep. Lauren Boebert seated in front of several guns during a Congressional Zoom hearing. (House Natural Resources Committee)
Did you know Lauren Boebert likes guns? Because she really likes guns.The first-term Colorado congresswoman got to D.C. in January and almost immediately informed everyone via a digital campaign ad that she’d be carrying her gun basically everywhere with her. This resulted in D.C.’s police chief reminding her that the city has gun laws that ban concealed carry and require people from out-of-state to register their guns with the city. Then, after the Capitol insurrection, Boebert refused to allow Capitol Police to search her bag for weapons before she walked onto the House floor to vote.
This trend continued Thursday, when Boebert attended her first House Natural Resources committee hearing via Zoom, and this is what it looked like:
Yes, those are at least two AR-style rifles in the background, and a few other guns lackadaisically hanging out on her shelf during a Zoom hearing. At least she’d be ready to shoot the computer if someone hacked into the meeting. The hearing itself was focused on debating the committee’s rules for the next two years. One of the rules includes a ban on carrying firearms into congressional committee hearings. Boebert objected to this particular rule, claimed House Democrats were infringing on her gun rights, and demanded “personal security detail” that Rep. Raul Grijalva, the committee chairman and a longtime Arizona congressman, would theoretically pay for himself. "If this is passed, the chairman is trying to take responsibility for my personal safety while stripping away my Second Amendment rights,” Boebert said. Democrats on the committee criticized Boebert for her performative gun display. “Here’s the reality: If somebody wants to have a shrine to their gun fetish as a Zoom backdrop in their private life, they can do that,” said Rep. Jared Huffman of California. “But this is our hearing room, and at some point we will get past the COVID epidemic and we’ll all start showing up in person and our safety and our ability to conduct our business civilly without feeling threatened is a relevant consideration,” he continued. “It’s necessary that we lay down these ground rules that whatever your fetishes or feelings are about guns, you’re not going to bring them into our committee room.”
Boebert hit back immediately.“It doesn’t matter how you feel or how you classify it, this is an enumerated right that American citizens have to keep and bear arms,” Boebert said.
Other Democrats and people on social media just mocked Boebert. “I always thought my dirty dishes piled up and accumulating bacteria were the most dangerous thing in a Zoom background,” Rep. Katie Porter of California tweeted.
“Who were you planning to shoot in a Zoom hearing,” asked Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia.
“Decided to display menstrual products on the bookshelves behind me the way Lauren Boebert does firearms,” posted writer Geraldine DeRuiter.
A law passed in 1967 bans civilians from carrying guns on Capitol Hill, but has an exemption that allows for lawmakers to keep firearms in their office.Guns are prohibited entirely from House and Senate Chambers and other rooms. The committee’s move to ban firearms from the hearing room is part of a larger effort to tighten up gun restrictions at the Capitol following last month’s riot, during which five people died and lawmakers were forced to hide from the mob. But following Boebert and other Republicans’ protests and evasion of the new metal detectors installed following the riot, the Democratic-led House implemented a fine of up to $10,000 for lawmakers who evade the metal detectors. Capitol Police are currently investigating two incidents related to the metal detectors involving Republican lawmakers, the Huffington Post reported earlier this week: the potential assault of a Capitol Police officer by Rep. Russ Fulcher of Idaho during an alleged confrontation involving the metal detectors and another involving Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, who reportedly tried to bring a gun onto the House floor before being turned away.