Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert reacts on 'Fox & Friends' to backlash from her ad saying she will carry a gun in Washington, D.C.
Since she arrived in Washington, Boebert has pushed to expand gun rights at the Capitol, but on Jan. 6 – the day the Capitol was under siege – the Second Amendment enthusiast followed the rules and did not carry her gun into the House chamber.
"It was just like this 'I told you so' moment," Boebert, R-Colo., told Fox News about her frustration with leadership. "I wish that I would have just not listened. Because my life is worth defending. The people next to me, their lives are worth defending.
"Then to not have the ability to do so, it's very discomforting."
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo. (Lauren Boebert congressional office )
Boebert said a "handful" of other GOP members, however, broke the House rules and carried their firearms on the House floor on Wednesday sensing something may be amiss – the day President Trump called his supporters to Washington, D.C., telling them the election was stolen from him and encouraging them to march to the Capitol.
"Some members were armed, they kind of just had this feeling to bend the rules that day," Boebert, co-chair of the Second Amendment Caucus, said. "And we kind of all huddled close to the ones who did."
Boebert had just finished up making an impassioned speech on the House floor in support of the protesters, giving a shout out to some of her constituents outside, and said she would vote to not certify the Electoral College win for Biden in Arizona because the results can't be trusted.
"You cannot change the rules of an election while it is underway and expect the American people to trust it," Boebert said before the rioters shut down the House session.
Boebert didn't know what was going on at first when she saw House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suddenly escorted out of the chamber. She tweeted about it – which later drew a rebuke from her colleagues about tipping off the rioters. Boebert claimed she was repeating only what people could see on TV.
Doors to the House chamber immediately started slamming shut and a security breach was announced as rioters were outside the House chamber and trying to get in. She had a "gut-sinking feeling" when she realized she was unarmed.
At the start of the new Congress, some Democrats tried to ban all members from carrying firearms on the Capitol grounds. But in a win for Boebert, those new restrictions were not included in the final rules package that was approved on Jan. 4.
Boebert is now determined more than ever to undo existing restrictions on where members can carry. She's been in contact with other GOP members who felt frustrated that they, too, could not defend themselves.
Unlike the public, members of Congress are allowed to have firearms on Capitol grounds, although there are certain places where they can't carry, such as the House chamber, Speaker's Lobby, cloakroom and the Rayburn Room, according to a House aide. Boebert's gun was stored in her office when the Capitol came under attack and she was trapped in the House chamber.
"You never know when you're going to need it," Boebert said. "So you never leave home without it. And that's how I live my life every day, and now here I am prohibited to carry it in the one room where I potentially needed it."
Boebert praised the work of law enforcement who fought honorably to protect the Capitol. She questioned why leadership did not have better backup available for the officers. Five people died in the attack, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick.
While Boebert's experience with the Capitol riot convinced her more guns on the House floor were necessary, Democrats have taken the opposite approach and began a clampdown.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado and is now co-chair of a Second Amendment caucus in Congress. (Lauren Boebert for Congress)
In response to the Capitol riot, Pelosi's office shared a new policy from the House Acting Sergeant at Arms Timothy P. Blodgett. New magnetometers were installed at the House chamber entrances on Tuesday to ensure everyone – including members – comply with the firearms rules.
"Failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber," Blodgett wrote Tuesday.
Boebert said Pelosi is further putting members' lives at risk by supporting the metal detectors. "Just to limit the ability to protect your life, it's terrible," Boebert said.
Boebert was defiant when she was stopped by police Tuesday night when her bag set off the new mags.
She refused to let the police officer check her bag and a brief standoff ensued. Eventually, Boebert won and got onto the House floor with her bag.
Other members just refused to comply altogether by running through the mags to the floor or bypassing the screenings. Democrats were incensed with colleagues breaking the rules and the nonenforcement from the police.
Hundreds of National Guard troops hold inside the Capitol Visitor's Center to reinforce security at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. The House of Representatives is pursuing an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his role in inciting an angry mob to storm the Capitol last week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP)
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., rebuked the police, saying if they let people pass through "all of this is for nothing."
Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., turned to her GOP colleagues as she was going through security and said, "if I can do it, you can do it."
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, R-Md., made clear they are trying to enforce no guns on the floor and condemned those who refused to use the new magnetometers.
"The position they're taking, as usual, is they don't want to follow the rules, and the rules are for a reason because we have members … who have asserted they have the right to carry guns," Hoyer said Tuesday. "Nobody wants guns on the floor."
Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Boebert would disagree. She said rioters aren't going to stop to go through metal detectors before entering the House chamber. She said the new policy only hurts members who want to protect themselves.
"If this isn't a reason to be able to defend yourself, then I don't know what it is," Boebert said of the major security breach.
She hopes she doesn't come to the conclusion that she has to break the rules to protect her safety, but "I do not want to be in a compromising situation where I'm vulnerable and unable to protect myself ever again."
Boebert, who is fully enmeshed in the MAGA world and has spoken to Stop the Steal protesters, said she's not quite sure why the protests turned violent on Jan. 6. She did not predict the unruly mob that would cause destruction and death.
"I don't know what went wrong. I wish I had an answer to that. And just because someone is affiliated with what you believe, doesn't mean everything they do is right," Boebert said. "The violence that took place that day – it's absolutely indefensible. It's inexcusable. And the criminals must be prosecuted."
FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. For America's allies and rivals alike, the chaos unfolding during Donald Trump's final days as president is the logical result of four years of global instability brought on by the man who promised to change the way the world viewed the United States. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
Many of Boebert's Democratic colleagues say she and fellow Republicans should be held accountable for trying to undermine the election and fueling the fervor that led to the riot.
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., has introduced a resolution to expel members of Congress who sought to overturn the election results and incited the violence at the Capitol. "I firmly believe that these members are in breach of their sworn oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States," Bush said. "They must be held accountable."
Boebert, however, stands by her vote that day to reject Biden's win.
"What happened here on Jan. 6 did not change what happened in the states that I was objecting to," Boebert said. "It did not change the election results. I have a constitutional obligation to defend and support the Constitution and be the voice of the people who sent me here. There are more than 70 million Americans who truly believe that this election was not fair. This was not a free and fair and secure election."
She's not in favor of holding Trump accountable for the actions of his supporters.
"I've listened to his speech, and I've read the transcript," Boebert said. "President Trump talked about having your voices heard peacefully."
She thinks impeaching Trump is wrong and will future divide the country.
"President Trump is on his way out. This is a man who has 20 minutes left in the White House and we're going to impeach him again?" Boebert said.
As for where the "Make America Great Again" movement goes from here, Boebert says it will carry on in some way despite the recent wave of social media censorship and Trump exiting office.
"I do believe that President Trump has started a movement in our country that cannot just be put out by social media silencing us or canceling us," Boebert said of Twitter and others shutting down Trump's platform. "He has awakened the hearts of the American people to stand for righteousness, to give back to the Constitution, because we know that under this new administration that we're about to see they're gonna push for democratic socialism."
She acknowledges the deep divisions within the GOP right now as some of her colleagues support impeaching Trump.
"I hope we can come together," Boebert said. "I keep hearing cries for unity, but I'm not seeing it. I'm not seeing anyone unified, maybe the unifying is Democrats bringing Republicans over to their side."
Fox News' Caroline McKee contributed to this report.