Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s event in a Tucson strip-mall parking lot Saturday did not seem risky. In fact, this type of event is a basic way members of Congress connect with people in their districts. It’s part of the job. But will the recent shooting change that? U.S. News blogger Linda Killian argues that canceling such events would be a terrible idea. “It would be a serious mistake to limit the access constituents have to their government representatives,” she writes.
Though security in Washington, D.C., is tight, congressmen are typically on their own at home. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina told Politico Monday they plan to carry concealed guns in their home districts more often after the Giffords shooting—both already have the appropriate permits to do so. Other members say they don’t plan to change their habits.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer confirmed on ABC’s Good Morning America this morning that threats to congressmen increased from 2009 to 2010, but he doesn’t believe more members carrying guns is the answer. “I’ve been a policeman for 42 years, and I don’t think introducing more guns to the situation is helpful,” he said. “I think we should leave the law enforcement and security to those professionals.”
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Previously: Is Political Rhetoric To Blame for Shooting?