GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde was fined $15,000 for twice bypassing the metal detectors installed at the behest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion. It was seen as a slam-dunk victory for Pelosi and for the new rule that which implemented $5,000 fines for a first offense and $10,000 for a second offense.
“Many House Republicans began disrespecting our heroes by refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our congressional community safe — including by dodging metal detectors, physically pushing past police, and even attempting to bring firearms into the chamber,” Pelosi said in a February statement after the fines were announced against Clyde and another metal detector refusenik, GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert.
“It is beyond comprehension why any member would refuse to adhere to these simple, common-sense steps to keep this body safe.”
As it turns out, that wasn’t what Clyde was doing. Even though he’s a gun-store owner, the Georgia representative wasn’t armed with a gun, he says. Instead, the Second Amendment supporter wanted to get Pelosi into court about the constitutionality of the rule.
“I did that so we would have legal standing to take the case to federal court, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Clyde told Fox News in an article published Saturday.
“And I’m all teed up to do that. People have to stand for the Constitution. And if I have to get fined in order to give me a legal standing to do that, then I’ll be fined.”
Clyde says the fines levied upon him and Gohmert were all part of the strategy.
“It was all pre-planned to make sure that we had legal standing,”
“Yesterday, after complying with the metal detector screening, I was allowed to enter the House session where debate was occurring,” Gohmert said in the statement. “Knowing that I would soon be giving a speech, I stepped off the House floor to use the restroom right beside the Speaker’s lobby as I have done many times since the metal detectors have been installed.”
When he was asked to resubmit to screening, he refused.
“I explained to the Capitol Police officer that I had never been required to be screened again from the restroom immediately by the House floor since the metal detectors had been in place at the other doors. I said they had witnessed me walk the few feet to the men’s room, enter and take the few steps back. No one ever mentioned or made that a requirement until yesterday,” he said. “Unlike in the movie ‘The Godfather,’ there are no toilets with tanks where one could hide a gun, so my reentry onto the House floor should have been a non-issue.”
Props for “The Godfather” reference, but at the time of that February statement, it looked like Pelosi had “Captain Phillips“-ed Gohmert and decisively told him: “Look at me. I’m the captain now.”
If you’ve ever seen “Captain Phillips,” however, you know the Somali pirate who uttered that line didn’t stay captain for long. Clyde hopes that’s the case here. He’s going to take his case to the House Ethics Committee. If he loses there, Fox News reported, “he’s prepared to file a lawsuit against Pelosi, Capitol Police and the House Sergeant at Arms to challenge the newly installed magnetometers and to fight for Second Amendment rights at the Capitol.”
“Currently, members of Congress are allowed to carry guns around the Capitol complex, except for certain prohibited areas such as the House floor, Speaker’s Lobby, cloakroom and the Rayburn Room, according to a Democratic aide,” Fox reported. “Some House Republicans, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, have challenged the prohibitions.”
Boebert, an outspoken gun rights activist from Colorado, said that during the Capitol incursion, members brought firearms on the floor to protect themselves. The House rule that instituted the magnetometer checkpoints, H.R. 73, eliminated any chance of this, even if it was in contravention of the rules.
To Boebert, this is a reason to relax the rules around firearms on the floor, not make them more strict.
“If this isn’t a reason to be able to defend yourself, then I don’t know what it is,” she told Fox News in a Jan. 13 article.
Clyde agrees. It’s not just that he wasn’t carrying that day to make a point; the first-term congressman doesn’t have a license to carry in Washington yet. When he does, however, he’d like to carry on the House floor for protection.
“I love to carry everywhere I possibly can that it is legal,” Clyde said. “We should be able to carry on the House floor, and the Democrats should have no fear of that whatsoever.”
Well, Speaker Pelosi claims to have a very serious fear of it, saying, of Republicans who want to carry on the floor, that the “enemy is within the House of Representatives.”
“It means we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress,” she said when asked for clarification on the matter in late January, according to Fox News.
They’ve threatened no such violence, of course, and the danger of Republicans who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves hasn’t been demonstrated. Nevertheless, Pelosi thought she’d showed them.
As it turns out, she could have walked into a trap that could be the undoing of her post-incursion security theater.
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