Members of Congress receive threats, consider security after shooting

Representatives reported threatening calls and emails Wednesday.

June 14, 2017, 7:15 PM

— -- The shooting at the Republican congressional baseball team's practice Wednesday in Virginia has reignited a long-smoldering debate on Capitol Hill this year about the threats against members and increasing security.

For months, Republicans have expressed concerns about safety at town hall events. In February, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., a former sheriff, briefed House Republicans on safety measures for district offices amid health care protests.

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, recently faced death threats after calling for President Trump's impeachment on the House floor.

Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., one of two Muslim-American members of Congress, told ABC News he "regularly" receives death threats.

Both men, along with other members, receive local law enforcement protection at home.

Members on both sides of the aisle reported a new series of threats today after the shooting — which prompted new debate about whether members need additional security.

Green told ABC News that the House sergeant at arms and Capitol Police leaders briefed members this morning on security in a closed-door session and that questions about adding protection for members in Washington and at home were raised.

"There's an evaluation in terms of what the security needs are," Green said.

Some Democrats reported threatening calls to their offices after the shooting.

"A lot of members are talking about receiving calls in their offices that the Dems are next," Carson told ABC News after the closed-door meeting.

According to an aide, Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., received a threatening email this morning after the shooting, in which House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was injured.

"Did you NOT expect this? When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before. Good Riddance," the message reads. Tenney's office reported the email to Capitol Police.

Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., said the shooting has raised questions about future events, including the upcoming congressional picnic at the White House.

"You're going to have members and families, and oftentimes there are long lines, and you have lines of members of Congress just sitting outside exposed," he said.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., who was at the practice today and tended to Scalise, suggested members should be allowed "reciprocity" in Washington for concealed carry permits issued in their home states.

"If this had happened in Georgia, it wouldn't have gotten too far. I had a staff member in his car, maybe 20 yards behind the shooter, pinned in his car, who, back in Georgia, carries a 9 mm in his car," Loudermilk said. "He had a clear shot."

After the shooting, Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., told WKBW, an ABC affiliate in Buffalo, New York, "I have a carry permit. I will be carrying when I'm out and about."

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