Several conservative lawmakers reportedly refused to walk through the detectors, instead walking around them as they entered the Capitol

By Virginia Chamlee
January 13, 2021 03:13 PM
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A group of Republicans expressed outrage at the newly-installed metal detectors at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. At least one lawmaker reportedly got into a dispute with officers after her bag set off the machines, and a group of representatives circumvented the machines entirely.

Various members of the media on Tuesday reported seeing Republican Reps. including Louie Gohmert, Debbie Lesko and Lauren Boebert either walking around the detectors or complaining about the enhanced security measures implemented in the wake of last week's attempted insurrection. (A spokesperson for Lesko told PEOPLE the Arizona Congresswoman "expressed discontent" with the detectors, but did walk through them.)

CNN reported that Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who reportedly did walk through the detectors, was "in a standoff with Capitol Police" after refusing to allow them to search her bag when the machine began beeping.

Boebert, who has been open about her intent to carry a concealed weapon in the Capitol building, tweeted that she was "legally permitted" to carry a gun within the complex.

"I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol complex," Boebert tweeted. "Metal detectors outside of the House would not have stopped the violence we saw last week — it's just another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi."

Indiana Rep. Larry Bucshon also criticized the use of the detectors, writing on Twitter that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy "needs to formally protest" the measure, which he claimed was "unconstitutional."

Reports suggested that Republican Rep. Peter Meijer apologized to Capitol Police on behalf of his colleagues who complained about the metal detectors.

Meanwhile, Democrats lambasted those who refused to use the metal detectors, arguing that lawmakers should be subject to the same scrutiny as anyone else entering the government building.

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"Do these people not understand that literally everyone else has to go through metal detectors to get in here?" tweeted Virginia Rep. Don Beyer. "Average people do not get to bring guns into the United States Capitol in normal times. Get over yourselves."

The metal detectors are among the many enhanced security features being implemented in government buildings after a violent mob of  Donald Trump supporters stormed the the U.S. Capitol, ransacking offices and beating a police officer in an insurrection that led to the deaths of five people.

The president has taken no responsibility for his role in inciting the attempted coup, telling reporters Tuesday that his speech to a group of supporters — in which he told them to march to the Capitol and "fight like hell" — was "totally appropriate."

On Wednesday, as the House of Representatives began to vote on a measure to impeach Trump for "incitement of insurrection," National Guard troops could be seen filling the Capitol, which is now surrounded by a newly-constructed metal fence.