U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the freshman Republican from Rifle who has declared she intends to carry a handgun at the Capitol, derided newly installed metal detectors outside the House chamber as a "political stunt" after setting one off Tuesday night when she attempted to enter the floor for a debate.
"It is a shame that Nancy Pelosi is trying to disarm Members of Congress in the very place that needed more protection on January 6th," Boebert told Colorado Politics in a text message.
"It is clear metal detectors would not have deterred the violent acts we saw; this political stunt does nothing to improve the safety of Members in the Capitol complex."
Boebert, the owner of a gun-themed restaurant and vocal Second Amendment advocate, refused to allow a search of her bag after setting off the detector, leading to what was described as a "standoff" by several reporters who observed the incident.
It was unclear what set off the detector, though Boebert tweeted later that she is "legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C., and within the Capitol complex," adding in another tweet that her "concealed carry permit was issued by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police."
After about 10 minutes, she was eventually let in and argued against a House resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare President Donald Trump unable to complete his term, which ends next week.
House Democrats — with the support of some Republican members — are pushing an article of impeachment, charging Trump with inciting last week's attack on the Capitol while Congress was certifying Joe Biden's election win.
Referring to allegations she put lawmakers at risk during the Capitol siege by tweeting information about Pelosi's location, Boebert said in her message to Colorado Politics: "It is also quite ironic that some have taken my tweets out of context to falsely accuse me of endangering Speaker Pelosi, that she now telegraphs to the entire world that Members of Congress cannot defend themselves in the House Chamber."
She added: "As I have said in previous statements, I will comply with all applicable firearm laws and regulations. I want to again thank the brave men and women of the Capitol Police for their service and for keeping us safe.”
Numerous GOP lawmakers objected to the devices when they showed up on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.
Louisiana's Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, said Democrats didn't discuss their installation with GOP leaders, and several just walked around the metal detectors.
“You can’t stop me. I’m on my way to a vote," Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert said.