CfA Demands U.S. Attorney’s Office for The District of Columbia Investigate Rep. Andy Harris For Firearms Offenses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2021
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group, sent a letter to Michael Sherwin, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, requesting an investigation into Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) for multiple potential firearms offenses.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “D.C. law clearly prohibits anyone from carrying a concealed weapon, yet several people witnessed Rep. Harris attempting to walk onto the House floor with a gun. Rep. Harris is not above the law and the U.S. Attorney’s Office must investigate.”
On January 21, 2021, Rep. Harris set off a magnetometer near the House floor. Security officials then used a metal detector wand to scan the congressman, which revealed that he was carrying a concealed gun. Huff Post reporter Matt Fuller witnessed and confirmed the events to the Capitol Police. Rep. Harris was denied entry to the House floor, so he then asked Rep. John Katko (R-NY), to hold the gun while he went into the Chamber and voted. Rep. Katko refused. Rep. Harris then left, returning ten minutes later and – apparently having left his weapon elsewhere – did not set off the magnetometer and gained entry to the House Chamber.
Rep. Harris’s spokesperson said the congressman is concerned about a security threat posed to himself and his family and that Rep. Harris has a gun permit issued by the state of Maryland. These statements indicate Rep. Harris may carry his firearm with him as he commutes between his home in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
While members of Congress may be permitted to retain firearms in their personal offices, Rep. Harris’s conduct appears to violate several federal and District of Columbia laws, including a law prohibiting firearms in the Capitol Building, the possession of a weapon and ammunition not registered in the District of Columbia, and transporting a firearm that is loaded and not secured in a locked container.
CfA previously asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) for similar offenses after he admitted to being “armed” on the House floor during the January 6th insurrection. The Department of Justice announced charges against a Maryland man for carrying a firearm inside the Capitol on January 6th. Other members, including Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rick Allen (R-GA), and Lauren Boebert (R-FL) have refused to be wanded after setting off the magnetometer near the House chamber and at least one of them, Rep. Boebert, has publicly stated she will carry her Glock in the District of Columbia.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “It would be untenable for the U.S. Attorney’s Office – when confronted with clear evidence of criminal conduct that would undoubtedly result in felony charges leveled against someone less privileged – to give a pass to a member of Congress.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.