ATLANTA -- Metro-area Congressman Barry Loudermilk was on the ball field when the gunman opened fire.
The congressman said he wants to be able to carry a concealed weapon and that if this shooting had happened in Georgia then he or one of his staffers likely would have been armed.
Loudermilk said he's never felt so vulnerable as when a gunman was targeting him and the others on the field. He was at home plate Wednesday morning when he heard the unmistakable sound of a gunshot.
"I turned and started running out to get out of the field. Several members went and jumped into the dugout," Loudermilk said. "I exited the field and got behind a building."
He said bullets passed just feet from his head and that the gunman was changing positions to follow the people on the field.
"He, uh, moved [to] a new position to get us in a line of fire," Loudermilk said. "He was clearly targeting the members of Congress and anyone in baseball attire at that point."
Thankfully, two members of the Capitol police were there, part of the detail for Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
Loudermilk has a concealed carry permit in the state of Georgia. But Washington has strict gun laws on the books. He said he'd like to see that change for congressmen.
"As I was sitting beside that building and the rounds were bouncing off the ground within two feet of me," Loudermilk said. "If those two officers were taken down, I would be a dead man right now."
As word of the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice outside of D.C. shocked the world, the news hit especially close to home at the governor's mansion.
"Rep. Scalise is a personal friend of mine," Governor Nathan Deal said. "I served with him when I was in Congress."
Deal said he never had security when he was in Congress. And he doesn't believe rank-and-file members should have it now.
But there is one thing Deal would like to see.
"We need to sometimes lower the rhetoric in the political circles and in the media, that does not raise the fears and apprehensions of people that would lead them to do this," Deal said.
Loudermilk said that if Congressman Scalise had not been there Wednesday morning then there wouldn't have been any protection and he likely would have died.
He said that while it's not practical to have armed security for all 435 members of Congress, he hopes they look at ways to increase security - especially when there are several members together.
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