I found several interesting facts in the article below; most interesting to me is the subject statement.
TheHill.com - Lawmakers say they wonâ€™t pack heat
Lawmakers say they won’t pack heat
By Jordy Yager
Posted: 06/03/08 08:02 PM [ET]
Several gun rights lawmakers say they won’t start packing heat on Capitol Hill if the Supreme Court overturns Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other advocates of the Second Amendment support reversing the District’s 32-year-old handgun ban, but say security in the Capitol Buildings means there’s no need for them to carry a gun to work.
“Why would I need to carry a gun? I mean, look at these guys, there’s four guns around us right now,” said Ryan, referring to four armed U.S. Capitol Police officers around the entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby.
At the same time, Ryan and others are adamant that they should have the right to bring a gun to the Capitol.
“I’ve never brought a gun up here [on Capitol Hill],” said Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.), another gun-rights advocate who thinks the D.C. gun ban is unconstitutional. “But I think you should be able to.”
Since the country’s founding by revolutionaries fighting the British, Congress has been filled with gun owners. Still, it’s unclear how many members of Congress own guns, partly because many choose to keep the matter private.
“I don’t believe in telling people that, and I also don’t believe in gun registration,” said Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas), a gun ownership advocate who supports overturning D.C.’s ban. “I want to keep a little doubt in the minds of any potential criminals.”
When Goode put forward an amendment to overturn the D.C. ban several years ago, he said he spoke with many fellow gun supporters about the amendment and got the impression they already had firearms in D.C.
“A few told me they did anyway,” Goode said. “I’m certainly not going to name any names, but I had some with a twinkle in their eye say, ‘I hope this thing passes so our guns are legal.’ ”
Since 1976, D.C. law has restricted handgun ownership to former or current law enforcement officers who had registered their guns before 1977. Still, there’s some uncertainty whether the law applies to members of Congress.
A spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C. Police Department said the District laws governing gun ownership apply to members of Congress and city residents alike, with no exceptions.
But the office of the House sergeant at arms said lawmakers can keep firearms in their offices, which are on federal grounds.
“The regulation on the grounds here is that a member can keep a firearm [handgun, shotgun or rifle] within the confines of his office,” said Bob Howe, adviser to House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood. “DC’s laws don’t apply on Capitol grounds.”
Many members of Congress aren’t aware of the House regulations, which have been in place for more than 40 years, Howe suggested.
“Well, it’s not something that’s advertised,” Howe said, adding that the sergeant at arms does not keep track of which members have firearms in their office. “We have no idea if any or all have them.”
“I’ve never been informed of any privilege for congressmen to bear arms,” said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.). “To my knowledge, they have to abide by the laws of the District.”
Congressional firearm privileges do not extend to staff members. Phillip Thompson, Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-Va.) executive assistant, was arrested last year as he attempted to enter the Russell Senate Office Building with a handgun.
Eventually cleared of the charges, Thompson said Webb had given him the gun for “safekeeping” and that he had forgotten it was in his briefcase as he passed through security.
Webb, a registered gun owner in Virginia, did not take responsibility for the handgun and instead said only that the incident was unfortunate.
“I have never carried a gun in the Capitol complex, and I did not give the weapon to Phillip Thompson, and that’s all that I think I’ll say,” Webb said during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol after the arrest.
Members of Congress have been involved in several other incidents, though most have been well off Capitol grounds.
Former Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.) was detained in a Kentucky airport after authorities found a loaded handgun in his carry-on baggage several years ago. He was questioned and later released after he said he forgot it was in his bag.
Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) mistakenly fired an antique handgun at an Atlanta reception for him in 2002.
Dozens of lawmakers in almost every Congress have put forward amendments and bills to revoke the D.C. gun ban, all of which have failed.
“I remember back in 1976, I was on the House floor and brought up a resolution of disapproval because I said [the ban is] unconstitutional and it’s going to go down,” said Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), a GOP presidential candidate who was a congressional freshman when the ban was enacted. “And it took them 30 some years and now they’re going to do it. I hope they rule correctly.”