Ohio congressmen take issue with U.S. Capitol metal detectors; supported them in schools

The U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Three Ohio congressmen have reportedly taken issue with new metal detectors installed outside the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, objecting to increased security measures put in place after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol building just a week ago.

All three of them — Reps. Steve Stivers of Upper Arlington, Bob Gibbs of Lakeville and Bob Latta of Bowling Green — previously supported efforts to install metal detectors in school buildings as a method of preventing school violence.

The U.S. House of Representatives met Tuesday evening to debate a resolution asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office. The body convened again Wednesday morning to consider a vote to impeach the president for his actions related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol which left five people dead, including a police officer. 

Metal detectors were recently installed within the building.

Matt Fuller, a reporter for The Huffington Post, has made note of several Republican lawmakers who oppose the new security measure. Fuller reported that Gibbs walked around the metal detector on Wednesday morning. Latta reportedly set off the metal detector on Wednesday, but walked past law enforcement officers to enter the House floor.

On Tuesday, Fuller reported that Stivers went through the metal detector but told the officers present he thought it was unconstitutional. 

The Ohio Capital Journal asked spokespersons for the three lawmakers to explain their objections to the metal detectors, particularly in light of their prior support for detectors inside Ohio schools.

Rebecca Card Angelson, Latta’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement the representative did trigger the metal detector.

“(Congressman Latta) has the utmost respect for the Capitol police and the work they do to keep the Capitol grounds and all who are on it safe,” Angelson wrote. “This is a new procedure in place and the Congressman did display his phone and keys as he went through the metal detectors so the police officers could see why the alarm was triggered. The Congressman did not hear anything further from the Capitol Police as he went through the metal detector, so the Congressman proceeded to the House floor to vote.”

Spokespersons for Gibbs and Stivers did not respond to a request for comment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for the chamber to institute fines for lawmakers who do not go through the metal detectors properly. The Associated Press reported Pelosi has proposed a fine of $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second offense to be deducted from their congressional salaries.

In 2018, all three representatives voted for the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act. Stivers was also a co-sponsor for the bill.

The legislation sought to address the issue of school violence by developing better training practices and creating a new system to anonymously report potential threats of violence. 

The bill would have also allocated grant funding for school districts to install “metal detectors and other deterrent measures,” according to a summary of the legislation.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation, but it failed upon not being passed by the U.S. Senate.

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