Instead, the Second Amendment enthusiast said he was purposely skirting the new security rules to have a chance to sue House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I did that so we would have legal standing to take the case to federal court, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Clyde, R-Ga., told Fox News. “And I’m all teed up to do that. People have to stand for the Constitution. And if I have to get fined in order to give me a legal standing to do that then I’ll be fined.”
Clyde, a Georgia gun store owner, refused to go through the new metal detectors outside the House chamber two times in violation of a new House rule put in place after the Jan. 6 insurrection to ensure that no guns and weapons are brought into the chamber. Breaking the rules cost Clyde $15,000 in fines — $5,000 for the first infraction and $10,000 for the second.
“That’s OK,” Clyde said of a $15,000 setback. “I’m good with the taking a hit for the team. But we’re going to win on this and we’re going to have House Resolution 73 declared unconstitutional because it is unconstitutional.”
“It was all preplanned to make sure that we had legal standing,” Clyde told Fox News.
Representative-elect Andrew Clyde, a Republican from Georgia, stands outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Assuming he loses his appeal in the Ethics Committee, Clyde said he’s prepared to file a lawsuit against Pelosi, Capitol Police and the House Sergeant at Arms to challenge the newly installed magnetometers and to fight for Second Amendment rights at the Capitol.
Currently, members of Congress are allowed to carry guns around the Capitol complex, except for certain prohibited areas such as the House floor, Speaker’s Lobby, cloakroom and the Rayburn Room, according to a Democratic aide. Some House Republicans, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, have challenged the prohibitions.
During the Jan. 6 riot, certain members had violated the rules and brought guns onto the House floor, Boebert said previously. But after the attack on the Capitol, Pelosi clamped down and the magnetometers were installed to ensure no guns were in the chamber.
UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 25: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., conducts a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus outside the Capitol to oppose the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, on Thursday February 25, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
The Jan. 6 attack has been a pivotal point of division for Republicans and Democrats on the issue of Second Amendment rights.
To some on the Republican side, the violence only solidified their belief that members need to be armed at all times in order to protect themselves. “If this isn’t a reason to be able to defend yourself, then I don’t know what it is,” Boebert told Fox News after the attack.
But certain Democrats view their GOP House colleagues as fanning the flames of the insurrection and some have accused Republicans of aiding the rioters by giving them reconnaissance tours of the Capitol — though no proof has come to light. Pelosi summed up that level of distrust when she said that the “enemy is within the House of Representatives.”
Clyde says when he bypassed the metal detectors, he wasn’t trying to bring a gun in. In fact, he was unarmed because he hadn’t even gotten his permit to carry in DC yet.
When he does, however, he’d like to carry on the House floor and hopes his potential lawsuit can pave the way. He says members of Congress should feel safe having armed colleagues around them.
“I love to carry everywhere I possibly can that it is legal,” Clyde said. “We should be able to carry on the House floor, and the Democrats should have no fear of that whatsoever.”