Even without a gun, Alaska’s Rep. Young tells congressional committee, his hands can kill

Screenshot of Rep. Don Young at a virtual U.S. House Natural Resources Committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

Sparks flew at a Zoom meeting of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Thursday as the members discussed a rule to ban guns from the committee hearing room.

Alaska Congressman Don Young, an enthusiastic champion of gun-owner rights, argued a firearms ban wouldn’t make hearings safer.

“Talking about weapons. I happened to serve during Korea,” he said. “And I was well trained in how to kill somebody with my hands.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., argued against the ban, too. She sat in front of a bookcase laden with rifles and a handgun. She said the committee’s housekeeping rule would violate her Second Amendment right. If she couldn’t come to a hearing armed, the freshman congresswoman demanded a security detail.

Screenshot of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) at a virtual U.S. House Natural Resources Committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

Young’s backdrop wall included a gold pan but no firearms. Young’s self-described lethal hands were in view.

“Maybe we all have to come in with our hands tied together so we can’t attack one another. You’ve seen me in this committee Mr. Huffman, the rest of you, all this time. I get very angry,” he said, referring to his frequent foil Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif. “But I haven’t attacked anybody. And the idea that now you’re going to be protecting us from ourselves is really a divisive amendment.”

The rule banning guns from the committee room passed anyway, over Republican objections.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.