They may never talk about it or they may shout it from the rooftops, but dozens of members of Congress pack heat back home in their districts and may be on Capitol Hill, too.
Alabama Republican Mo Brooks, for example, minces no words when asked if he owns a firearm that he carries.
“I do have a concealed carry permit, as does my wife,” Rep. Mo Brooks told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“There’s terrorism and there’s crime,” Brooks said. “You never know when either one is going to happen. You can rely on terrorists and criminals not to hurt you, or you can prepare yourself so they don’t hurt you. I trust myself more than the terrorist.”
Rep. Gary Palmer, another Alabama Republican, said asking if he owns a gun is the wrong question.
“The question should be, how many?” But Palmer declined to tell TheDCNF how many he has.
But members of Congress can’t keep a loaded gun with them to protect themselves and others as they walk around Capitol Hill. Members may keep firearms in their offices, but have to unload them bullets in order to transport their weapons anywhere else on Capitol grounds, according to U.S. Capitol Police regulations.
TheDCNF asked the 38 members of the House Freedom Caucus — presumably the most pro-Second Amendment caucus in Congress — whether they own firearms or have concealed-carry weapons permits. Twenty-three caucus members didn’t respond. Seven declined to comment, some citing security concerns. Eight said they owned guns, six of whom have a concealed weapons permit.
The National Rifle Association gave House Freedom Caucus members on average an “A” grade during their most recent election cycle, whether they owned a gun or not.
By contrast, 37 Democrats who told USA Today in 2013 that they own firearms earned an average “C” grade from the NRA during their most recent election cycle.
Eight of the 37 have since retired or lost re-election campaigns, including former Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, former California Rep. George Miller, former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, former Rep. William Enyart of Illinois, former Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, former Montana Sen. Max Baucus, former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, and former South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson.
Six Democrats who owned guns as of 2013 earned an “A” from the NRA in their most recent election cycle — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Wisconsin Rep. Ron King, Texas Rep. Gene Green, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Minnesota Rep. Ryan Peterson, and Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop.
Only one Democrat who packed heat as of 2013 received an “A+” in his most recent race — Georgia Rep. John Barrow. The NRA has downgraded a handful of Democrats since the ratings USA Today reported in 2013, too.
The lowest NRA grade among House Freedom Caucus members went to Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who earned a “B.” Amash never responded to USA Today or the DCNF on whether he own or packs heat. Every other House Freedom Caucus member, whether they disclosed their gun ownership status or not, earned an “A-” or above. No House Freedom Caucus member said they don’t own a gun.
Five Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus had “A+” grades in their most recent election cycles — West Virginia’s Rep. Alex Mooney, Virginia’s Rep. Morgan Griffith, Texas Rep. Ted Poe, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan.
Here are the members of the House Freedom Caucus who say they currently carry, or did as of 2013 (all are Republicans):
- Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer
- Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks
- Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar
- Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon
- Arizona Rep. David Schweikert
- Arizona Rep. Trent Franks
- Colorado Rep. Ken Buck
- Florida Rep. Ted Yoho
- Florida Rep. Bill Posey
- Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman
- Louisiana Rep. John Fleming
- Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan
- South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan
- South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney
- Tennessee Rep. Scott Desjarlais
- Texas Rep. Randy Weber
- Virginia Rep. Dave Brat
Brooks said the Second Amendment is the “bedrock” of all other amendments, and the pro gun-control argument that the Second Amendment only applies to a militia-owning firearms is preposterous.
“The purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that the citizenry could protect itself from a dictatorial and out-of-control government,” Brooks told TheDCNF.
“It has long been a primary goal of kings, dictators, communists, fascists and the like to disarm the citizenry so that there is minimal risk of opposition to centralized government, dictating to the citizenry that is unarmed and defenseless, and unable to assert their rights,” he said.