Following the deadly Trump-fueled siege at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, enhanced security measures have been installed outside of the House Chamber. On Thursday, the new magnetometers prevented a Republican lawmaker from bringing a gun onto the House floor. Now he is under investigation.
U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) is investigating GOP Rep. Andy Harris, of Maryland, after the congressman attempted to bring a gun onto the House floor, several news outlets reported.
“The USCP is investigating the matter,” officials confirmed to the Huffington Post and CBS Baltimore.
A reporter for HuffPost witnessed Harris setting off the metal detectors as he attempted to enter the chamber on Thursday.
When an officer with a metal detector wand scanned him, a firearm was detected on Harris’s side, concealed by his suit coat, according to the outlet. The reporter witnessed an officer signaling to a security agent that Harris had a firearm on him, motioning toward his own weapon.
A Capitol official later confirmed to the outlet that Harris was carrying a gun.
Lawmakers are allowed to carry guns in their offices and on the Capitol grounds but they are forbidden from bringing firearms onto the House floor.
After being denied entry, Harris reportedly asked Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) to take the gun from him so he could go inside and vote. Katko allegedly refused to hold the weapon, stating that he didn’t have “a license.”
According to HuffPost, Harris left the area and returned roughly 10 minutes later. He did not set off the magnetometer the second time and was allowed to enter the House floor to vote on a waiver to allow retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as President Biden’s Secretary of Defense.
When asked for comment, Harris’s office said in a statement: “Because his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial, for security reasons, the Congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defense. As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit. And the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding. The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.”
Tensions flared last week when numerous GOP lawmakers refused to adhere to new safety measures for the House chamber, prompting Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to enact extraordinary rules that would impose thousands of dollars in fines against those who don’t comply.