A spokeswoman for Andy Harris of Maryland released a metal detector in front of the floor of the House on Thursday, and an employee soon discovered that it was because he was carrying a concealed pistol on his side, a Capitol official told CNN. The officer sent Harris, urging him to ask Republican Representative John Catko of New York to hold his weapon.
According to a press report, Katko refuses to hold the gun to Harris, saying he has no license. Harris then left the area and returned moments later, coming to the floor of the House without turning off the magnetometer.
A Capitol spokesman confirmed to CNN that Harris had not entered the floor of the House with a gun. Harris̵
A Capitol police officer who saw the gun 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 are granted certain exemptions under a 1967 regulation by the Capitol Police Department, a source confirmed to CNN. Members of Congress can carry firearms in Congress halls and on the Capitol grounds, as long as they have licenses from Washington and carry ammunition separately, the source added. Under no circumstances are lawmakers allowed to carry firearms on the floor of the House.
Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes of New York told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday night that “I think a very significant amount, many members of the House still don’t feel safe among other members of Congress,” Harris said. for the incident.
“The moment you bring a gun to the floor of the house in violation of the rules, you put everyone around you in danger. This is irresponsible, reckless, but it is also a violation of the rules,” she said.
“You openly disobey the rules we have established as a community, which means you cannot be trusted to be responsible for what we have decided as a community. And so I don’t care what they say their intentions are, I am interested in the impact of their actions and the impact is to put all 435 members of Congress at risk. ”
Ocasio-Cortez claims that Harris “tried to hand over his gun to another member who did not have a license, and every responsible gun owner knows that you are not just handing over your gun to another person, you have to clear it, and such as.”
“It just shows that it doesn’t matter what your intent is if you’re irresponsible, if you’re trying to break the rules, if you’re trying to sneak a firearm to the floor of the House,” she added. “I don’t care if you accidentally triggered it, I don’t care if you intentionally triggered it, I don’t care if you trigger it at all, you endanger the lives of members of Congress. And it’s absolutely outrageous that we even have to have this conversation. “
The metal detectors were installed after a number of House House Democrats told CNN they were worried about some of their Republican counterparts and after numerous conversations about the need for every member of Congress and their guests to start going through metal detectors, CNN reported earlier. .
Since the detectors were installed, there have been very few voices on the floor in the House, so members are still getting used to the new measures.
Colorado Republican Lauren Bobert, who filmed an advertising campaign promising to carry her gun around Capitol Hill before arriving in Washington, also clashed with Capitol police over newly installed metal detectors as she tried to get on the floor Jan. 12.
That night, GOP representatives Marquine Mullin of Oklahoma and Steve Womak of Arkansas called police in the Capitol when they were forced to go through the detectors. Womack shouted, “I was physically detained,” and Mullin said, “This is my constitutional right,” to pass, and “they can’t stop me.”
Freedom Caucus President Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican, told reporters on Jan. 12 as he walked through metal detectors to reach the floor of the House, “That’s nonsense right here. You can leave it. It’s the dumbest thing.” “
Even some Democrats were unhappy with the extra security because it led to longer lines and members were forced to be within 6 feet of each other.
“I’m more likely to die from Kovid because I got it from a colleague than to die because a colleague shot me,” Philemon Vela, a Texas Democrat, told CNN last week.
After initial criticism from lawmakers and reports that some refused to stop for Capitol police after releasing magnetometers, House Nancy Speaker Pelosi proposed a new rule on Jan. 13, imposing severe fines on members who refused to follow new security measures. : $ 5,000 for the first violation and $ 10,000 for the second violation. The new rule has not yet been adopted and will be considered when the resumption of votes in Parliament in February.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.