It almost sounds like a joke: Republican Congressman Dan Barton (R-IN) says he’ll submit a bill proposing to put a plexiglass shield around the House Gallery where members of the public sit. The shield would protect members of the House on the floor from projectiles and any other objects from being thrown, tossed or catapulted from the House Gallery.
Congressman Barton points to five incidents in the past one hundred years in which someone succeeded in firing a gun or otherwise trying to detonate something in the House of Representatives. Obviously, the recent assassination attempt at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ life, in which six citizens were shot attending the congresswoman’s public meet-and-greet event, has spurred other members of Congress to examine their own security measures.
Reactions from around the web range from ire to snarkyness:
“How about building a plexiglass shield around us non-gun owners too! The GOP has courted the NRA forever and now the citizenry is armed to the gills. How about some help for us who are sick of feeling at risk just leaving our homes now??”
‘If you combine it with Dan Burton’s proposal to enclose the public areas of the House floor in plexiglass, at least Members can only hurt themselves and not the public.’”
The final comment? The Senate Sargeant-at-Arms, chief of security for the Senate and a former Chief of Capitol Police has this to say:
“And more cops, more jails, or more guns is not the only answer. Some people need to be locked up, and some people need to carry guns. I happen to think law enforcement are the ones who ought to do that…
[regarding the plexiglass shield] “There’s other methods we can prevent people from doing some harm up in those galleries.”