Representative Andy Harris, of Maryland, set off a metal detector outside the House floor on Thursday and an officer soon discovered it was because he had a weapon concealed on his side, a Capitol official told CNN. The officer fired Harris, prompting him to ask fellow Republican John Katko of New York to hold his gun.
According to a report from the press pool, Katko refused to hold the gun for Harris, claiming he did not have a license. Harris then left the area and returned moments later, walking on the floor of the house without triggering the magnetometer.
The Capitol official confirmed to CNN that Harris did not enter the floor of the House with a gun. Harris’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Capitol Police officer who saw the gun has informed his superiors and the department is investigating the case, a Capitol Police source familiar with the matter told CNN.
Firearms are banned in Congress except for members, who enjoy certain exemptions under a 1967 Capitol Police Council regulation, a source confirmed to CNN. Members of Congress can carry firearms in halls of Congress and on Capitol Hill grounds as long as they have licenses from Washington and carry ammunition separately, the source added. Under no circumstances are lawmakers permitted to bring firearms onto the house floor.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday night that “I think a very considerable amount, a lot of” members of the House “still don’t feel safe with other members of Congress, “Harris slamming for the incident.
“As soon as you bring a gun onto the floor of the House in violation of the rules, you put everyone around you in danger. It’s irresponsible, it’s reckless, but beyond that, it’s the violation of the rules, ”she said.
“You openly disobey the rules that we have set as a community, which means you cannot be trusted to be held responsible for what we have decided as a community. And so I don’t care. really about what they say their intentions are., I care about the impact of their actions, and the impact is putting all 435 members of Congress at risk.
Ocasio-Cortez claimed that Harris “attempted to hand his gun over to another unlicensed member, and any responsible gun owner knows that you don’t just hand your gun over to someone else, you must clear it, etc. “
“It just shows that your intention doesn’t matter if you are irresponsible, if you try to break the rules, if you try to slide a gun on the floor of the House,” she said. added. “I don’t care if you accidentally trigger it, I don’t care if you trigger it intentionally, I don’t care if you don’t trigger it at all, you endanger the lives of members of Congress. is absolutely outrageous that we even have to have this conversation. “
The metal detectors were installed after several House Democrats told CNN they were concerned about some of their fellow Republicans and after multiple conversations about the need for every member of Congress and their guests to start passing by. by metal detectors, CNN previously reported.
Since the installation of the detectors, there have been very few votes in the House, so MPs are still getting used to the new measurements.
Republican Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who filmed a campaign ad swearing to carry her handgun around Capitol Hill before arriving in Washington, has also been embroiled in a standoff with Capitol Police over newly installed metal detectors trying to get down on Jan 12.
That same night, GOP officials Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Steve Womack of Arkansas shouted at Capitol Police when they were forced to go through the detectors. Womack yelled, “I was physically restrained”, and Mullin said, “It is my constitutional right” to cross and “they cannot stop me”.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican, told reporters on Jan.12, as he walked through metal detectors on his way to the House level, “This is from shit in here. You can put that. It’s the dumbest thing. “
Even some Democrats have been unhappy with the added security because it led to longer queues and members being forced to be within 6 feet of each other.
“I’m more likely to die from Covid because I got it from a coworker than to die because a coworker shoots me,” Texas Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela told CNN last week.
After initial criticism from lawmakers and reports that some refused to stop for Capitol Police after triggering the magnetometers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposed a new rule on January 13, imposing heavy fines for members who refused to follow the new safety measures: $ 5,000 for the first offense and $ 10,000 for the second offense. The new rule has yet to be adopted and will be considered when floor votes in the House resume in February.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.