Republican Rep. Cory Mills hands out dummy grenades to House members

Newly elected Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.) handed out grenades Thursday to other members of Congress, along with a note on his office letterhead emphasizing that the ammunition was made in Florida.

“I am honored to be a part of the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees,” Mills wrote. “In that spirit, it is my pleasure to present you with a 40mm grenade, made for an MK19 grenade launcher. These are made in the Sunshine State and were first developed in the Vietnam War.”

At the bottom of the letter was a postscript saying that grenades are inert.

Accompanying the letter was a grenade emblazoned with the logo of the Republican Party, according to a photo posted on twitter by Daily Mail reporter Morgan Phillips.

A representative for Mills confirmed that the photo was accurate.

“According to the letter, the grenades are inert and have passed through all safety metrics,” Mills spokesman Juan Ayala said in an email. “I just wish they would tag our official account.”

After the January 6, 2021 insurrection, metal detectors were installed outside the House floor for the first time, though some Republican lawmakers insisted on regularly circumventing them. The metal detectors were removed earlier this month, at the start of the 118th Congress, when the Republican majority exercised its newfound power.

Mills won the election to represent Florida’s 7th Congressional District in November, flipping the seat previously held by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a member of the House select committee that investigated the January 6, 2021 attack. against the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Mills, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, couldn’t be more different from Murphy. He is among several new members of the House who deny that President Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election. A veteran and defense contractor, Mills also boasted in his campaign that he “sold tear gas used on Black Lives Matter protesters.”

Visitors to the Capitol are prohibited from bringing firearms, weapons and explosive devices. Lawmakers are exempt from the ban on carrying weapons on Capitol grounds thanks to the 1967 Capitol Police Board regulations.

Members of Congress may have weapons in their offices and may transport them within the compound if the weapons are “unloaded and securely wrapped.” But they can’t bring weapons into the House and Senate chambers.

In the weeks after the Jan. 6 attack, House Democrats revived a bill to ban their colleagues from carrying guns on Capitol grounds.

“When I brought this up with colleagues in the past, most were surprised to learn that members could do whatever they wanted with guns,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) said then. “But I think there has been a false sense of security that nothing bad would happen. The events of the last few days have completely changed that.”

Meagan Flynn and Amber Phillips contributed to this report.


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