During the first week of Congress' session, Congressman Bob Goodlatte yielded the House floor to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona to read the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
"It is so ironic that two days later, she was practicing those First Amendment rights when this horrific attack took place," says Goodlatte.
Members of Congress and their staff received an e-mail from U.S. Capitol Police at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, alerting them of the incident and advising that "Members and staff take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal safety."
Goodlatte says most members of Congress, himself included, have received security threats.
"When we receive a threat, we immediately contact the Capitol Police and consult with them about what measures they need to take, what measures my staff needs to take," explains Goodlatte.
While he says security is a priority at public events, he says it's important that constituents still feel they can approach him with their concerns.
"We can not allow a crazed gunman to change the ability of people to interact with their elected representatives," adds Goodlatte.
Around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the Sergeant at Arms sent another e-mail to Congress members and staff saying the Capitol Police are directly involved in the continuing investigation.
The e-mail goes on to say that that there is "no indication this incident is part of a larger threat against Congress or has a nexus to terrorism".
The Sergeant at Arms urges members and staff to be aware of their surroundings and says it is "essential that each district office establish communication with local law enforcement."
He says the "local agency should be informed of the district office address and the Member's residential address."
The U.S. Capitol Police have a threat assessment section specifically for analyzing suspicious behavior or threats toward members of Congress.
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