Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) introduced a bill Friday to allow congressional employees who can legally own firearms to carry them to and from House buildings for protection and store them in the Capitol while at work.
A release from Steube’s office states that the bill would require Capitol Police to install and operate storage lockers at the pedestrian entrances to each House office building for the firearms’ “safe storage.”
“My bill is simple: any employee who is lawfully permitted to carry a firearm, stun gun, or self-defense spray will be able to bring those weapons on their commute to a House Office Building and safely store the weapon until they are ready to depart the building,” Steube said in the release.
The release notes that many House employees commute to and from their offices by walking and claims that “many” of them have been victims of violent crime happening across Washington, D.C.
It states people in D.C. can use certain weapons, including self-defense sprays, stun guns and concealed firearms, for self-defense, but D.C. and federal law prevent people from carrying them inside federal buildings.
Steube’s office said the congressman’s proposal comes after the House voted to block a D.C. law that would revise its century-old criminal code from going into effect.
The D.C. Home Rule Act allows Congress to pass a disapproval resolution to prevent a D.C. law from going into effect if majorities of both houses agree and the president signs it.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the resolution on Wednesday by a vote of 81-14. The bill is headed to President Biden, who is expected to sign it.
Republicans and some Democrats criticized the bill for provisions that would lower penalties for some crimes like carjackings and robberies. Biden mentioned the carjackings provision as part of his reasoning in supporting the bill.
Steube slammed D.C. for its “total lawlessness” in the release.
Data from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department shows violent crime dropped by about 7 percent from 2021 to 2022, while homicides dropped by 10 percent in that time. But the city recorded more than 200 homicides in each of the past two years.
U.S. News and World Report found that D.C.’s violent crime rate and property crime rate were lower than the national rate in 2020.