A top Republican in the state Assembly does not see any reason to change security procedures at the Wisconsin Capitol, following Wednesday’s shooting in Virginia that targeted members of Congress.
While additional police were present for the day’s floor sessions, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) does not believe more restrictive measures are needed. “My natural assumption is that the Capitol should be as open as we can possible have it…that’s why I have not supported having armed guards or metal detectors,” Vos said. “I think by and large we have a really good Capitol Police force who has provided security under some of the most tense times.”
Access to the state Capitol building is generally easy for the public. All ground floor entrances are left unlocked during the day, and legislative chambers and offices are typically accessible to the public without having to pass through security. The most recent time that metal detectors were in place were during the protests over Governor Scott Walker’s legislation that proposed changes to collective bargaining for most state workers.
The shooting that injured five people, including a member of Congress, happened at a baseball field where Republicans were practicing for a charity baseball game. Several lawmakers have credited the security detail assigned to Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was shot, for stopping the gunman from hurting additional people.
Vos said he does not see a need for adding similar security details for state legislative leaders. “I don’t think I would want to have a guard with me 24-7,” Vos said. “I prefer to be mostly anonymous as I go to the grocery store.”