After the mob of insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on January 6, metal detectors were installed near the House Chamber. Lawmakers and staff now must pass through the detectors before joining their colleagues in debates and votes on the House floor.
It only took two weeks for a GOP Congressman to be caught with trying to enter the chamber with a gun.
Huffington Post has reported that Maryland Republican Andy Harris, who serves in the House of Representatives, set off the detectors while entering the chamber to vote on a waiver to allow retired General Lloyd Austin to serve as President Joe Biden's Secretary of Defense.
A Huffington Post reporter watched as a Capitol Police Officer scanned Harris with a metal detecting wand and found a firearm in his suit coat pocket.
Harris was, of course, denied entry.
So he tried to pawn the gun off on his GOP colleague, John Katko, a Representative from New York. Katko refused to take the gun, telling Harris he didn't have the correct license.
Harris left and returned a few moments later, this time without a gun. He entered the House floor without a problem.
After hearing about the incident, Twitter rained all kinds of criticism down onto Harris.
@MEPFuller @seananmcguire Let’s just take a moment to appreciate that their coworker is trying to bring a gun to wo… https://t.co/3IJu8vqRYZ— David AttenBruh🦇🐍 (@David AttenBruh🦇🐍) 1611281421.0
@MEPFuller @TimAlberta Does he need a gun because he is missing his balls?— SarahCA (@SarahCA) 1611278005.0
@tkcrockett @MEPFuller @PDavis_LLC Conservatives: I RefUse tO LiVE iN FEaR!![ No MaSK!!1 Also conservatives: I NEE… https://t.co/sYnmJmeChH— Shorty, pull your mask up (@Shorty, pull your mask up) 1611276160.0
@MEPFuller @MaddowBlog Pretty sure that the folks trying to bring guns are the very ppl who would absolutely clutch… https://t.co/RhXWsmLAwB— Amanda Stevens (@Amanda Stevens) 1611282642.0
Many of the responses on Twitter highlighted one of the most scathing details of this story.
Members of Congress are allowed to carry firearms in office buildings, on the Capitol grounds, and even in the Capitol building itself when going to and from their office. But the gun must be unloaded and is supposed to be secured in their office while they conduct regular business on the Capitol grounds.
Representatives are only barred from carrying guns onto the House or Senate floor.
@MEPFuller Why aren’t ppl scanned as they’re entering the bldg? Esp now, after what happened. Why did he even make… https://t.co/wyk8n3eeuC— KLG (@KLG) 1611324630.0
@MEPFuller @UROCKlive1 When is enough enough, this craziness needs to stop. Place booths outside the entrance with… https://t.co/0BTet1R7CC— Rob4liberty (@Rob4liberty) 1611291762.0
@MEPFuller @MaddowBlog “Members are allowed to carry a gun in the office buildings, in the Capitol and on Capitol g… https://t.co/dS2Fei23zd— 💧🌏 MazMyers (@💧🌏 MazMyers) 1611282681.0
Harris is by no means the first GOP lawmaker to thumb his nose at the new metal detectors.
Republican Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado publicly boasted she plans to carry her gun around D.C. despite the new security measures. GOP Congressman Andy Biggs of Arizona called the new security changes "crap." Republican Representative Markwayne Mullin, of Oklahoma, called it his "Constitutional right" to not be stopped even if he had a gun.
Biggs and Boebert, as well as Republican Representatives Rick Allen of Georgia and Louie Ghomert of Texas have all been seen blowing past Capitol Police Officers after setting off the detectors. Many of these people are the same members of Congress who balked at being asked to wear a mask or socially distance.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California stated she plans to fine Members of Congress $5000 the first time they bypass the metal detectors and $10,000 if they do it a second time. Fines also had to be enacted to get Republican holdouts to wear masks.
Folks on Twitter pushed for Pelosi to come down harder than that.
@MEPFuller @SenSchumer @SpeakerPelosi There should be no guns in Congress. There need to be legal consequence… https://t.co/ObsPutyjCp— Jamie B (@Jamie B) 1611282283.0
@MEPFuller @SpiroAgnewGhost @SpeakerPelosi Who is keeping track of people trying to bring guns on the floor of the… https://t.co/qt7Sj8Yy47— Geranorm (@Geranorm) 1611276024.0
If GOP Representatives continue to defy the new security measures, those fines will be put to the test. Only then will we know how successful that deterrent is—or if additional measures would need to be taken to maintain safety in the Capitol.