Bill proposes letting US lawmakers carry guns anywhere except Capitol


WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) - Warning that members of Congress have a "bull's eye on our backs," a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday he had introduced a bill to make it legal for senators and representatives to carry guns anywhere in the country, except the U.S. Capitol building.

Representative Jody Hice of Georgia said his proposal was an important step to ensure the personal safety of lawmakers "in light of recent events," an apparent reference to an attack last week in which a gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress practicing for a charity baseball game.

"Personal protection and being able to defend oneself against an assailant is part of the fabric of our Constitution, which is why I am an ardent believer in the Second Amendment," Hice said in a statement, referring to U.S. legal guarantees of the right to keep and bear arms.

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Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 24: Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 24: From left, Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., and Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: From left, Reps. Jody Hice, R-Ga., Dave Brat, R-Va., and Rod Blum, R-Iowa, are seen on the West Front of the Capitol before Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, January 20, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 4: Reps. Jody Hice, R-Ga., right, and Gary Palmer, R-Ala., leave a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, April 4, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 15: Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., attends a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the Flint, Mich., water crisis, March 15, 2016. The hearing featured testimony from Susan Hedman, former EPA Region 5 Administrator, Darnell Earley, former Emergency Manager for Flint, Mich., Dayne Walling, former mayor of Flint, and Marc Edwards, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering professor at Virginia Tech. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 27: Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., introduces presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, during a campaign rally near the Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta, Ga., February 27, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 16: Reps. Jody Hice, R-Ga., right, and Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., leave a meeting of House Republicans at the RNC, June 16, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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"While members of Congress are all average Americans, it is clear that we also have a bull's eye on our backs," Hice added. "In light of recent events, it's incredibly important that congressmen and women maintain the ability to provide for their own safety, regardless of the city or state."

Hice said he introduced the measure on Tuesday, less than a week after a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers at the baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, a Washington suburb.

U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, was wounded in the attack, along with a Republican aide, a lobbyist and a Capitol Police officer in Scalise's security detail.

The gunman, a former volunteer campaign worker for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who was said to be angry with Republicans, was killed in a gunbattle with police.

Scalise underwent several surgeries to treat internal injuries caused by a wound to the hip. His condition was upgraded to "fair" on Wednesday. (Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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