National Guard troops were forced out of the U.S. Capitol that they’d been using for rest breaks and relocated to a nearby garage, are back at Capitol.
Maryland’s only Republican member of Congress is at the center of another controversy after reports Thursday that he was stopped at a security checkpoint carrying a firearm on his way to the House floor.
The Huffington Post reported that Rep. Andy Harris, R-Maryland, was refused entry to the chamber after he set off a metal detector Thursday. An officer with a metal detector wand scanned Harris and identified the firearm.
The Huffington Post also reported that Harris tried to hand off the firearm to another member of Congress so that he could vote on the House floor.
That member, Rep. John Katko, an upstate New York Republican, refused to take the firearm, according to the report, and said that he didn’t have a license. There was no immediate comment from Katko’s office.
Harris then left and returned a few minutes later and did not set off the metal detector, the report said.
A spokesperson for Harris referred the USA TODAY Network to a statement provided to Fox 45 News, a Baltimore television station, in which the congressman did not confirm or deny he was carrying a gun at the House security checkpoint.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”
U.S. Capitol Police said it is investigating the incident.
Harris has faced repeated calls to resign since he challenged President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win two weeks ago in Congress, just hours after a violent mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the election. Five people were killed, including a Capitol Police officer.
Harris condemned the violence in a statement but continued to question the results of the election when Congress reconvened later that day. Reporters who were present also said that Harris appeared to get into a heated altercation with another member of Congress during the debate.
Thursday’s reports brought renewed criticism.
Harris a week ago also skipped a vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump, who faced accusations of inciting the deadly mob on Jan. 6.
The attack on the Capitol brought heightened security measures, including the metal detectors outside the House floor.
Members of Congress can carry unloaded weapons on the Capitol grounds, but cannot bring them onto the floor.
Some Republicans have criticized the rules and sidestepped the security measures, according to reports.
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