tv Washington Journal Philip Wegmann Discusses Congress and Concealed Carry... CSPAN June 16, 2017 9:04am-9:31am EDT
gibson about his collection of speeches on american principles. >> and i began to think about the great presidents down the years who have been avid readers of history. many of them wrote history, including john kennedy. and even those who didn't have the benefit of a college education like harry truman, read history all their lives. and realize that it's essential to the role of a leader. whether it's the presidency or leadership of any kind. it's about cause and effect. history matters. >> go to booktv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> "washington journal" continues. host: and we are now joined by philip wegmann, he's the commentary writer of "the washington examiner." and he's here to talk about why
he believes that members of congress should be able to legally carry firearms. philip, thank you so much for joining us today. guest: thank you for having me this morning. host: so tell us why you think it's a good idea for members of congress to be armed in the district as they go into the capitol? guest: right. well, this is an issue of safety and accessibility when it comes down to it fundamentally. we need to make certain lawmakers have the best security possible while also making certain they are accessible to their constituents and representative massie was joined by 23 other republicans to push a bill which would allow lawmakers to basically carry arms if they have a concealed carry permit back in their home state. what this basically would do would make certain lawmakers could be safe in their person and given additional level of security during those constituent meetings. host: and you write in your piece in "the washington examiner," you say currently the district of columbia doesn't recognize gun permits
from the states, and the police prohibit this. a bill by congressman loudermilk would change that by allowing lawmakers to keep a gun on their hip while legislating. we need to look for reciprocity, loudermilk said. scalise hadn't been on our team it would have been really bad. you said he's right. he was at that practice. it's worth noting that 18 state legislatures allow members to conceal carry. is there something that can be learned from those state houses that can be implemented here in d.c.? guest: well, absolutely. there is a federalism solution here. what works at the state level can also be applied here at the capitol. if you look at those 18 states that allow legislators to keep a gun on their hip while they legislate, there haven't been problems with safety.
instead, you trusted a lawmakers to protect themselves. if we're going to trust congressmen to legislate and commit to us war or spend billions of dollars each day, i think we should also trust them to be able to protect themselves. host: we are joined by philip wegmann of "the washington examiner." as we continue to talk about efforts to allow members of congress to carry guns in the u.s. capitol. republicans can call 202-748-8001. democrats, 202-748-8000. and independents 202-748-8002. as you mentioned, congressman massie has a proposal for allowing concealed carry legislation for members of congress. also, congressman loudermilk also making a proposal. talk about those two proposals, exactly what they would do, and what the reaction has been so far? guest: i think loudermilk is with massie on the same push
right here. it's that lawmakers don't check their constitutional rights when they walk in the door of the capitol. the capitol police are the finest men and women in the world. if you are not a member of leadership team like majority leader scalise was, you're going to be on your own walking to and from votes most of the time. so these lawmakers are thinking to them 70's, representative chris collins of new york -- themselves, representative chris collins of new york said, with all this rhetoric i will be keeping a pistol in my pocket. right now i think what's going underreported is the fact, you know, you have members like representative collins who are walking around security. members don't have to go through security on the hill. so there's no way to make certain that they're not carrying at this point. so massie's bill would codify something that might already be happening. host: ok. margaret is calling from south carolina on our democratic line. margaret, you're on with philip wegmann.
caller: thank you. good morning. i'm calling because i have a question to ask. and the question is, why is it so important for congresspeople or any other people to carry a gun? why is it not important for people who are not in the news, people who are not on tv, people who are not on c-span, why is it that they need to have the same privilege? i want to tell you i met some wonderful officers, and i met them in philadelphia. i was on the amtrak train. on that train they only reported me and that's three weeks ago as being listed. and the police officers i met in philadelphia, i don't know their names, but all i can tell you is they were the greatest people that i have met since i left new york eight years ago.
and they did nothing but assist me and why can't the people who are just normal people with a regular job -- because nobody forced them to take that job -- why do they need to have special privilege? why? guest: well, i think no one is disputing the fact we have some of the best police regardless of what state you're in. the united states has a great police force. and the capitol hill police really are heroes. if they were able to stop a massacre at -- and they were able to stop a massacre at that baseball field. representative mo brooks and others said all they had if the capitol police wouldn't have been there were just baseball bats and that would be a much more tragic situation. i think if we are going to trust those lawmakers make these laws, we should trust them with all the other rights outside washington, d.c. and that's to keep and own a firearm to protect themselves
under the second amendment. host: you mentioned the representative who have a conceal carry. a piece from 2015 pointed to the fact, meet the members of congress who pack heat and it points to alabama republican mo brooks who says he men'ses no words when asked if he owns a firearm he carries. he said, i do have a concealed carry permit as does my wife. there's terrorism and there's crime, brooks said. you never know when either one is going to happen. some other members say they point out congressman gary palmer, another alabama republican, among others who said -- now, congressman brooks was there wednesday at that ballfield in alexandria. do we know how many members of congress may already be carrying firearms? guest: i don't think they'll tell you if you ask them point blank. yes, that goes to that
fundamental question, if we are going to elect these people, if they are going to represent us and don't we want them to feel safe as possible? if you look at the current partisan environment right now, i was in florida with ron desantis and the town halls are like nothing before. this bickering back and forth between republicans and democrats, that's infectious. i think some of the lawmakers are worried this will follow them up here in washington, d.c. so their thought is they want to be as safe as possible so they can get back to their families. host: all right. james is calling from greenfield, massachusetts, on our republican line. hi, james. caller: hey, good morning. thank you, c-span. the estion i have, after shooting, i was listening to what some of the congressmen had said. they mention that the congress were yelling at the police, shoot them, shoot them and i'm
wondering if it's a policy where you have to say, stop or i'll shoot, several times before you can do anything about it with the washington police, the white house police. and i think for that reason, you know, knowing that, if that's true, then i totally agree that the congresspeople should have -- be able to carry a gun for their own protection. thank you. guest: well, i think if you look at the video of that attack, it was horrific. it was a six-minute long video someone shot from their iphone. capitol police really swooped in completely unprepared. when you are at a ballpark, that's not something going through your mind. you don't think you would expect that. they were really on the ball. they were really quick and professional. i think rand paul in particular was right. had they not been there, had scalise not been practicing with the team that day, this would have been a much worse massacre. host: at the same time, yes, we
had the capitol police. there was a fast response from the alexandria police who was on the scene within three minutes, was there during the gun battle. if you have these other protections there, and certainly at the u.s. capitol is one of the most secure places in the nation, is it really necessary for members of congress to carry guns as well? guest: well, first of all, i think the police did a fantastic job in their response but it still took them a significant amount of time when you get there. when you look at that video you see a madman with a gun firing shots in a matter of seconds. the police can be wonderful. again, they can't be omnipresent. these lawmakers want to make certain they are going to be able to respond. yes, the capitol is definitely one of the safest places here and our nation has a strong police presence but these lawmakers, if you look at their schedules, they are not just there casting votes. they are all across d.c. every single day and most of the time these lawmakers are accompanied by a staff person, by one of
their legislative aides. they don't have security if they're a rank and file member. host: ok. beth is calling in from evanston, illinois, on our democratic line. hi, beth. caller: hi. thanks for taking my call. i am just astounded, i guess, because you're taking one incident and you're saying that now our lawmakers have to, you know, carry guns. like you say, it was one incident and it did not take the police a long time to get there. according to their timeline, it took them three minutes to get there. so i, somebody who has visited and gone to the senate and watched the senate numerous occasions, i don't think i would feel safe as a citizen to know that those people down there the senators and the house members had guns, you know. these town halls also.
you are not looking at what really happened. there has been no incidents of gun violence at these town halls. there's rhetoric and the people are upset, but i think it's just totally preposterous that everybody is going to carry a gun. guest: well, first of all, if you look at some of these town halls, it's not just what happens on the surface. a lot of these members are getting death threats not only to them but to their family while they are away here in congress. i don't think there should be any requirement for a member of congress to carry a gun. that should be their choice. just like it's the choice of every family whether or not they want to have a firearm in the home. that's up to them. but i think it would give a wood-be attacker more -- a would-be attacker more pause if a congressman could defend their jobs. three minutes can be an eternity. i've spoken with some of the members who were there. for instance, representative
mark walker, these are individuals who are very confident, who are very outgoing, they were all very shaken after this occurred because they were completely helpless. they had no way to answer. host: and we are talking with philip wegmann, he's the commentary writer at "the washington examiner." also formerly on staff at the "daily signal," and the federalist, and we are talking about efforts, his piece that supports efforts by congress to allow members of congress to carry weapons into the capitol and throughout d.c. again, republicans can call 2020-748-8001. emocrats 202-847-8000. nd independents, 202-748-8002. we had robin kelly, a member who wants strong gun control. and gabby giffords, the last sitting member of congress to
be shot. she wrote a piece in "the washington post." we know always one law couldn't prevent a shooting like this. we also know we must acknowledge a problem. an unacceptable gun rates in this country and a problem like this -- host: she's advocating for gun control members. seems to always be this push and pull from those who want fewer guns and those who say you need more guns. talk about the division a little bit. guest: i think what's interesting about the aftermath of this mass attack was that democrats for the most part seemed silent other than representative giffords. there's no organized push to get a gun control bill to the president's desk. and frankly if we rewind the
clock, under president obama when he had control of both the house and senate he wasn't able to get gun control into law. the hopes of doing it with republicans in control are next to nil. host: ok. lindsey is calling from maryland on our republican line. hi, lindsey. caller: hi. thanks for c-span. you know, one caller said something about she's from illinois and she ignored the fact that chicago is like baltimore here in maryland, one of the murder capitals of the nation. as far as town hall meetings being safe, it was in fact congresswoman giffords who got shot while down in her district. i'm for the second amendment, but here it is again. congress is passing a chauvinistic, self-serving law leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves. the thing is more aristocratic than democratic. why is it they aren't expanding
this to have federal preemption in the law and give the rest of the nation their second amendment rights? i'm in maryland. i am trying to buy a gun. on top of a seven-day waiting period i have to first go and qualify for a license to buy a gun. that's like these football stadium owners that force you to buy a license before you can buy the ticket. it's just another way of getting money. it's just another way -- what other right do we have to where you have to first prove your worthiness if you have a right? do i really have a right there? all of a sudden it's not an inalienable right. all of a sudden it's a right granted by the government. if it's a right granted by the government, i say it's no right at all. host: all right. lindsey. i want to give philip wegmann a chance to respond. guest: i think representative massie and others are strong proponents of the second
amendment. and they would probably see this not necessarily as a special privilege only to themselves and lawmakers here in washington, d.c., but as a first step. the general rule some of these conservatives and libertarian members wants to see is an expansion of right, not a limiting of them. they would probably see this as a step in a more deregulated direction. host: now, there are some members of congress, of course, who will not want to carry a gun, congresswoman kelly said she is one of them. how will that work if some members of congress are carrying weapons and others are not? guest: i think it will work the same way it works everywhere outside of washington, d.c., outside of the beltway. you have a lot of individual citizens who conceal carry on their own already. we have a problem in this country not necessarily with people who have gone and goten concealed carry permits committing crimes but rather individuals who have weapons that they shouldn't. people with mental illness and who want to do harm.
so i think it would be a similar situation to what's going on across the country right now. also, we have the test case. those 18 state legislatures that allow their lawmakers to carry and there haven't been problems there. we should apply that same solution to the capitol. host: to that point in your piece you write, applying those local statutes that apply there, the there is an inverse relationship between guns in the hands of responsible citizens and decrease in crime. same thing can happen on capitol hill. and you go on the to say, don't misunderstand, you are not criticizing the capitol police. talk a little bit more about that. guest: i think your last caller mentioned chicago and we have seen a lot of these cities that have struck regulations on guns. d.c. used to be one of them and continues to have stringent requirements before owning a firearm in the home. when you make it more difficult for a proverbial good guy to get a gun you disarm them in the face of danger.
when we've seen areas where gun ownership is highest, private citizens don't mean harm to other people. it's the criminals that do. host: ok. sheila is calling from washington, d.c., on our independent line. sheila, you're on with philip wegmann. caller: yes. my comment is in taking a job, especially for the lawmakers, that it comes part of the job comes with an inherent possibility that you could be wounded or whatever. i'm thinking to myself, why are these people taking the job? this is part of their duty as lawmakers. you know you could possibly be faced with a situation where your life could be on the line. so if you're not comfort with that, then -- comfortable with that, then you shouldn't apply for that particular possession. and as far as guns in these
states, don't d.c. have rights? i hear people calling from other states. what rights do they have to ell the district what to do? quite frankly i would be upset if people from texas or other states are calling in, you know, telling me here in maryland, you know, what we would be allowed to do and that's my comment. guest: right. i think your caller is right. a lot of these lawmakers are making sacrifice. we think of politicians up here in washington, d.c., living a very glamerous lifestyle. but they have to make sacrifices. they have to be away from their home and now they have to be afraid for security. i don't want to live in a society where lawmakers feel they are going to be under fire going to do their job. i think this is one solution that would by expanding freedom, increase security for these men and women if that's what they chose to do. host: now, some of our callers throughout the show expressed concern maybe arming members of
congress at a time when political ranker is so high might be a bad idea. we've seen some really tough language, you know, used against one another. is there a fear adding weapons to the situation will only be throwing a match onto a powder keg? guest: i really don't think so. i think lawmakers are happy to take rhetorical swipes at each other. we haven't gone so far there might be actual violence. down on the baseball field we had democrats and republicans huddling together and praying for majority whip scalise. what we don't see when the cameras aren't rolling is a lot of these folks on both sides of the aisle, they use partisan and heated rhetoric but they are friends because they know one another. i don't think that would be much of a concern. host: ok. linda is calling from oregon on our democratic line. good morning, linda. caller: good morning. wasn't that a great game, ah,
last night? guest: it really was. caller: i am sorry. it's not funny. it just happened yesterday and 've been up since -- 12 hours. but i get this image of all these -- [laughter] legislators on the field with their holsters and their guns just like matt dillon or someone trying to run bases. i'm sorry. listen, i liked what most that e that i heard say thank god our representative scalise was there. it's terrible he was shot. i think if there's more than one or two hanging out together, there should be
security regardless of who it is, whether they're -- you know -- i mean. but somebody thinks that representative scalise needed the security, so they were there. they did their job. guest: linda, i think you're right there because when you're mentioning the fact you have multiple members of congress gathering, that's one of the concerns that members have brought to the sergeant at arms and they said perhaps the security detail for every member is too far-fetched but it might be possible to have a special detail. if you have dozens of congressmen together. that seems like a commonsense solution that could be pursued in the future. so it sounds like linda son the right crack. ost: ok, rainy is calling from rawley. -- raleigh, north carolina. caller: yes, i'm call from raleigh, north carolina. however, even though i may be
republican, i always say according to the constitution. had a 20% obin voting record, according to the constitution, so that's how you have to judge these congressmen. now, what i think is that everyone needs to take one of the firearm courses. that's a necessity. you need to know how to use the gun. now, if anyone wants to know what's going on and who the groups are that are behind all f these organizations is the new american magazine and the data that is february 6, 2017. it's only $3.75. host: rainy, what's the point that it makes? quickly. caller: it makes -- it gives
you every organization that's coming in here and bringing in these groups that are being to disrupt. 20 they have no allegiance for this country. they are for the dollar. host: we have to break soon to carry the house pro forma session. go ahead and react to the n.r.a. and other groups. guest: i am old enough to remember that we settled agreements with discussions, not with burnt limb sdemreens and smashed starbucks windows. we have seen an uptick in this partisan ranker. we see it on inauguration day and in a number of protests. this is disturb. i don't think we are going to be able to move past this ranker until republicans and democrats stop reflectively hating one another. if we have a discussion that will move things forward. host: all right. philip wegmann, the commentator
writer from "the washington examiner." you can find his work at washingtonexaminer.com and he is on twitter. the house is going to gavel in for a brief pro forma session. we will be back on the other side of that for the rest of "washington journal." but in the meantime, we are going to take you live coverage of the house on c-span.