Lauren Boebert's Metal Detector Standoff: Was She Packing Heat?

A campaign photo of Lauren Boebert at her Rifle eatery, Shooters Grill, wearing a gun on her hip.
A campaign photo of Lauren Boebert at her Rifle eatery, Shooters Grill, wearing a gun on her hip. Lauren Boebert for Congress
Lauren Boebert has hit Washington, D.C., like a runaway locomotive engulfed in flames. The new U.S. representative for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, Boebert quickly triggered calls for her resignation or expulsion for helping to incite the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 — an assertion she denies, responding with an angry attack on enemies real and perceived.

Then, during the early evening of January 12, Boebert began trending again after getting into what was characterized as a standoff with Capitol police for refusing to let her bag be searched after she set off newly installed metal detectors outside the House chamber — an act that carried extra weight, given her announced plan to carry a Glock handgun while in the district.

Boebert hasn't responded to our requests for comment, though she regularly communicated with Westword prior to the November 2020 election. (Click to read pieces about her campaign launch; her decision to reopen her notorious Rifle eatery, Shooters Grill, during a period when on-site restaurant dining was off-limits owing to COVID-19; a post-primary win update about helping President Donald Trump fight liberal maniacs; and an October cover story.)

She did, however, offer a comment to CNN, whose Ryan Nobles live-tweeted about the latest fiasco, branding the installation of metal detectors a "political stunt" — a topic with which Boebert should be intimately familiar.

At 5:42 p.m. Eastern time on January 12, Nobles tweeted: "RIGHT NOW — Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who has bragged about her desire to carry a weapon on Capitol Hill is currently in a standoff with Capitol Police at the newly installed Metal Detectors outside the chamber doors."

In follow-up tweets, Nobles revealed more details: "Boebert walked through with her bag which set off the mags. She refused to offer the bag over to be searched and is now in a standoff with Cap Police.... Capitol Police won’t let her in until Boebert shows them what is in her bag, she won’t and is now standing by the entrance of the chamber. She is respectful but defiant."

Moments later, Nobels revealed that "Boebert has now been let into the chamber it was unclear from my vantage point if the Capitol Police searched her bag before she went in." Shortly thereafter, he added that Boebert wasn't the only Republican rep to bristle at the metal detectors, despite the insurrection less than a week earlier. He highlighted a tweet from colleague Manu Raju: "House GOP furious at new mags outside the chamber. Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Steve Womack erupted at Capitol Police as they were forced to go through the mags. Womack shouted 'I was physically restrained!' And Mullin said 'it’s my constitutional right' and 'they cannot stop me.'"

A similar tone is evident in Boebert's remarks to CNN: "It is a shame that Nancy Pelosi is trying to disarm Members of Congress in the very place that needed more protection on January 6th. It is clear metal detectors would not have deterred the violent acts we saw; this political stunt does nothing to improve the safety of Members in the Capitol complex."

As for whether her bag contained the Glock, Boebert offered just this: "As I have said in previous statements, I will comply with all applicable firearm laws and regulations. I want to again thank the brave men and women of the Capitol Police for their service and for keeping us safe."

The amount of attention that Boebert's latest action has attracted brims with irony. Two other members of Colorado's congressional delegation, Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette, have been named managers in the impending second Trump impeachment; Jason Crow, who served the same function during Impeachment 1.0, has been hailed as a hero for his actions during the recent insurrection.

Yet it's Boebert's antics that continue to set the Internet ablaze.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts