Violence Against Members of Congress and Their Staff: Selected Examples and Congressional Responses [January 25, 2011]   [open pdf - 176KB]

"Questions about the personal security and safety of members of Congress and their staffs have arisen in the aftermath of a recent attack in Tucson, Arizona, and following reports of an increase in the number of threats made against members of Congress. Two measures have been introduced in the 112th Congress to address issues related to violence against members and congressional staff. On January 19, 2011, Representative Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania introduced H.R. 318 to amend title 18, United States Code, to punish threats to commit violent crimes against members of Congress. On January 20, 2011, Representative Laura Richardson introduced H.R. 367, the Freedom to Serve Without Fear Act of 2011, which would prohibit the knowing possession of a firearm near a venue at which a member of Congress is performing official duties or campaigning for public office. Since 1789, available information from official and private sources suggests that there have been at least 21 instances of attacks involving 24 members who were targeted by assailants. There have been 12,013 individuals who have served as Representatives or Senators since 1789. In 11 instances, the attacks were thwarted, or resulted in no serious injuries to members. Another three incidents resulted in wounds to seven members. Finally, seven instances resulted in the deaths of seven members. It appears that five of the incidents of attacks on members also affected some congressional staff. Four of the incidents resulted in the wounding of congressional staff. Two incidents, a 1998 event in which a gunman entered the Capitol, and the Tucson shooting on January 8, 2011, resulted in fatalities to two congressional law enforcement personnel and one civilian employee of the House, respectively."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41609
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