Given how the Capitol Police failed to keep the building secure from a few hundred weirdos, can you blame him?
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., set off the metal detector while trying to enter the chamber Thursday afternoon. The metal detectors were installed after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. The incident was witnessed by a reporter from the HuffPost website.
After setting off the machine, Harris was asked to step aside for further screening. At that time, an officer discovered Harris was carrying a concealed gun on his side, according to the reporter.
The officer sent Harris away, at which point Harris tried to get Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., to take the gun from him. Katko refused, telling Harris he didn’t have a license to carry a gun. Harris eventually left and returned less than 10 minutes later. He once again went through security and did not set off the magnetometer. He was then allowed to enter the House floor.
Harris, in his sixth term representing Maryland’s Eastern Shore, issued a statement through his chief of staff, Bryan Shuy.
“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 said. “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.”
I think there is a wide gulf in America about the seriousness of this kind of infraction. For me, I’ve carried a gun living in two states and traveling all over the country for the better part of 25 years. My weapon is a serious tool, but as much a part of my personal accessory kit as my keys, pocket knife, and Carmex. Seeing someone else with a gun strikes neither fear nor worry in my heart. It just is.
For others, seeing or hearing of someone with a gun is a troubling thing. They assume evil intent even if there is no justification for it. They project their own fears into another person and see it reflected back at themselves. I’m not discounting it. I understand it. Which is why I take care to ensure that my weapon is concealed so that it does not create unnecessary disquiet in others.
So for me, this is a “whatever” story. For others, it’s a big deal.