‘The increased use of social media has created a new avenue for individuals with ill intent to publish threatening communications…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Before the 2017 congressional baseball shooting that nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, threats against members of Congress increased rapidly, according to the House Sergeant at Arms, Paul Irving.
Irving said the United States Capitol Police investigated slightly more than 900 threats against representatives and senators in 2016.
During the first half of 2017, leading up to the tragic shooting, USCP received about 950 hostile communications.
By the end of the year, USCP received approximately 2,000 reports of threats.
Irving said he partially attributes the increase in threats to the ability to threaten someone anonymously.
“Members receive threatening communications on a daily basis via the internet, telephone and mail in Washington, D.C., at their Congressional district offices, and at their residences,” Irving wrote. “The increased use of social media has created a new avenue for individuals with ill intent to publish threatening communications directed toward Members of the House of Representatives.”
The federal government has expanded security measures for members of Congress by spending more money, but some members have called for less costly improvements.
“I’m trained at what I do and how I do it with a weapon,” said Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., according to the New York Post. “If I had the ability to carry, I would feel safer.”
Members of Congress can carry in their home states if they have a permit, but as soon as they enter D.C. their permits lose validity.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would give members of congress the option to carry when they’re in D.C. if they have a permit from their home state.
Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, introduced the bill, which passed the House but has been stalled in the Senate.
In the meantime, the House Administration Committee gave an additional $25,000 to each member of Congress for security.
Additionally, Congress increased funding for the USCP by nearly $30 million in 2017 and again in 2018.