Washington: A Republican member of the US Congress raised eyebrows on Thursday when she appeared at a Zoom committee meeting with an arsenal of guns strategically displayed in her background.
Representative Lauren Boebert was among the lawmakers attending an organizing meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee being held by video because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When Boebert appeared on camera from her home, she was seated in front of a bookshelf which featured at least three rifles and a handgun.
Gun rights activist
“I always thought my dirty dishes piled up and accumulating bacteria were the most dangerous thing in a Zoom background,” tweeted a Democratic member of the committee, Representative Katie Porter.
Boebert, 34, is a gun rights activist who was elected to the House of Representatives from the western state of Colorado in November 2020.
An outspoken supporter of former president Donald Trump, she owns a restaurant called “Shooters Grill” in the town of Rifle, Colorado, where the employees openly carry firearms.
Soon after her arrival in Washington, Boebert announced her intention to carry a gun to work and she has criticized the deployment of metal detectors at the entrances to the House chamber.
Among the items on Thursday’s committee agenda was organizing in-person meetings again.
Boebert criticized rules banning lawmakers from bringing firearms to the floor of the House or to committee hearings.
“This rule is absurd,” Boebert said, and an “infringement on our constitutional rights.”
She claimed that she and other lawmakers were left “vulnerable and defenseless” during the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Representative Jared Huffman of California, a Democratic member of the committee, spoke up in support of the ban.
“Here’s the reality. If somebody wants to have a shrine to their gun fetish as a Zoom backdrop in their private life, they can do that. But this is our hearing room,” Huffman said.
“And at some point we will get past the Covid epidemic and we’ll all start showing up in person and our safety and our ability to conduct business civilly without feeling threatened is a relevant consideration.”
“Whatever your fetishes or feelings are about guns you’re not going to bring them into our committee room,” he said.
“You don’t need them there for your own safety. Many of us feel like it threatens our safety. And that’s just not going to be allowed.”
Room Rater, a Twitter feed that analyzes the backgrounds of Zoom participants, took note of the unusual backdrop used by Boebert, the mother of four children.
“Unsafe gun storage is no laughing matter,” it said.
“Who says this is storage?” Boebert tweeted back. “These are ready for use.”