Rep. Louie Gohmert said Friday that "vulnerable" members of Congress should be allowed to carry firearms in the nation's capital, arguing that "guns are the great equalizer."
The Texas Republican is proposing a bill that would permit colleagues to arm themselves after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot and critically wounded at an official event in her southern Arizona district last weekend. While some lawmakers have pushed for tougher gun restrictions in light of the attack, Gohmert and others have stressed that members simply need to be able to protect themselves.
Gohmert told Fox News that Washington doesn't need to spend millions to provide security details for every member of Congress. Rather, he said, lawmakers "should be trusted to protect themselves with their own 2nd Amendment."
"We're sitting ducks," he said.
Gohmert said he's not worried about the safety of lawmakers on Capitol Hill grounds, where Capitol Police patrol and provide security. He said his concerns extend to the rest of the District.
"Unless you're in leadership, you walk through the criminal capital of the country, because D.C. leaders have continued to try to ban guns so that the only people in Washington, D.C., that have guns, besides law enforcement, are the criminals," he said.
The Supreme Court in 2008 struck down the city's ban on handgun possession, though D.C. has since drafted new regulations to restrict gun ownership while staying in compliance with the court ruling.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer has cautioned against talk of lawmakers responding to the Giffords shooting by arming themselves.
"I don't think it's the answer," Gainer said. "I think the causes of violent crime and the causes of murder are very complex. And guns alone is not the answer."