The House Natural Resources Committee is one of the most powerful congressional bodies when it comes to managing the West's public lands. But the committee's first meeting of the year devolved into an argument over guns.
The meeting on Thursday was supposed to be pretty boring. Lawmakers were setting some organizational and housekeeping ground rules. Then a squabble broke out over an amendment proposed by Democrats that would ban lawmakers from bringing guns to meetings. Right now guns are only banned on the House floor.
The ban was targeting one of the committee's newest members, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert. She's been vocal about carrying a sidearm on Capitol Hill and went on a lengthy tirade about how the amendment was an infringement on her constitutional rights.
"Why stop with the Second Amendment? Let's go ahead and quarter soldiers in this committee room. There are plenty of soldiers in the parking garage at 'Fort Pelosi' in Washington, D.C. Let's go ahead and forget about due process while we are at it," Boebert said.
The meeting was conducted over video conference and Boebert was framed by two military-style assault weapons displayed on bookshelves behind her.
Ultimately the amendment to keep guns out of the meeting room was passed along party lines.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.