Maryland's lone GOP congressman investigated for trying to carry on House floor

Maryland is a famously blue state, but they aren’t entirely bereft of Republicans. The state’s First District is represented by Republican Andy Harris. Unfortunately, Harris now finds himself under investigation by the Capitol Hill Police after a reported incident where he allegedly attempted to bring a gun into the House chambers last week. Unfortunately, the details of the allegation are a bit fuzzy, based largely on the claims of one reporter from HuffPo. And even then, the reporter only goes so far as to say he “believes” the item that set off the metal detectors was a gun. (CBS Baltimore)

The U.S. Capitol police agency is investigating whether Maryland Congressman Andy Harris tried to bring a gun onto the House floor amid tightened security at the Capitol.

Harris, Maryland’s lone Republican in Congress, declined WJZ’s request for an interview about the matter. He represents the 1st District, which includes the Eastern Shore and parts of Harford, Baltimore and Carroll counties…

A reporter for the Huffington Post said he witnessed Congressman Harris set off the magnetometer Thursday and claims after a wanding, an officer found a gun concealed by his suit coat.

The entire story is strange. The HuffPo reporter is Matt Fuller. He was the one who claimed that Harris set off the metal detector outside the entrance to the chambers. He reports that Harris then attempted to hand the firearm off to another congressman from New York who refused to take it. After that, he took an elevator down toward the parking area, later returning and passing through the metal detectors without incident.

A Harris aide released a statement that doesn’t really clear things up much either way. He notes that Harris is a licensed gun owner in his home state. But he goes on to say that he and his family have received death threats recently so he never confirms or denies when or if any of them are carrying.

“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. 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.”

Licensed members are allowed to carry on Capitol Hill and in their offices, but not onto the floor. Metal detectors have been set up to prevent that. But very little about this story makes sense.

That Harris would bring a firearm to the Hill isn’t at all remarkable, particularly after the events of January 6th. If he was taking the weapon to his office, that wouldn’t have been an issue either. But it’s not as if the metal detectors and the Capitol Police with wands aren’t glaringly obvious. Is it possible that he was in a hurry and simply forgot that he was carrying?

I suppose that’s possible, but if that’s the case, after security turned him away, why on Earth would he try to hand his own gun off to another member who was obviously also on his way into the chamber? The quick trip outside is easy enough to understand if he was simply going to lock the firearm up in his car. Perhaps that was significantly closer than his office, in which case it would make sense.

I suppose we’ll have to wait until the investigation is complete or Harris decides to release an additional statement. I simply refuse to believe that Harris thought he could “sneak” a weapon into the chambers without being noticed. The guy can’t be that dense. If I had to take a guess, I would assume that what I said above was the case. He forgot to drop off the firearm at his office because he was in a rush to get to the next House session and it led to him making a dumb mistake. I rather doubt that the Capitol Police will be pressing charges over something like this.