U.S. Capitol Police have confirmed to multiple outlets that they are investigating an incident in which Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland reportedly tried to take a concealed gun onto the house floor on Thursday but was stopped by security when he set off metal detectors—the latest in a series of GOP members of Congress challenging the security protocols put in place.
Harris set off a recently installed magnetometer as he attempted to enter the House chamber, and a firearm was detected on his side, concealed by his suit coat.
According to a HuffPost congressional reporter who witnessed the incident, police refused to let Harris in, and “the officer signaled a security agent that Harris had a gun on him by motioning toward his own firearm.”
Harris then reportedly asked Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) to take the weapon from him so he could go vote, but Katko told Harris he didn’t have “a license” and refused to hold the gun.
At that point, Harris exited the area and returned several minutes later, and was allowed to enter the House floor after he did not set off the magnetometer.
Harris’s chief of staff, Bryan Shuy, sent out a statement Thursday night declaring that “for security reasons, the Congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defense,” because “his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial.”
“As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit. And the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding,” said Shuy in the statement. “The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.”
Following the deadly attack on the Capitol building earlier this month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered that metal detectors be installed, which angered several GOP members. Last Tuesday, according to The Hill, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) yelled at the police operating the detectors, claiming they were “creating a problem” that they did “not understand the ramifications of,” and told them to “get back” and “don’t touch me.” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) called the detectors “bullshit.” Members are allowed to carry unloaded firearms in the halls and on Capitol grounds, including the Capitol Building, and in their offices as long as all ammo is separately compartmentalized. However, guns are not allowed into either the House or Senate chambers. In early January, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) released a digital ad declaring her right to carry a Glock on the Capitol’s grounds. “Even though I now work in one of the most liberal cities in America, I refused to give up my rights, especially my Second Amendment rights,” Boebert says in the ad. The HuffPost reported Thursday that Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Rick Allen (R-Ga.) and Boebert all refused to be wanded down after setting off the magnetometer.
$5,000. That’s the fine amount that will be levied against members who bypass magnetometer screenings, Pelosi announced last week.