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Tensions run high in US Congress after GOP lawmaker tries carrying gun

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of Republican US Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland who tried to carry a gun into the House chamber.

A Republican congressman has attempted to carry a gun onto the chamber of the US House of Representative, further fueling persisting concerns about Capitol security and whether lawmakers need protection from one another.

The renewed anxiety just two weeks after the deadly January 6 attack on the legislative compound was triggered by Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland when he set off a newly installed metal detector off the House floor with a concealed weapon, despite a longtime prohibition on firearms in the chamber.

The incident followed numerous reports of other Republicans, accustomed to bypassing metal detectors in the Capitol, resisting the new security measures. Some Democratic lawmakers are now openly expressing that they don’t feel safe around certain colleagues.

The spiking anger and distrust in the wake of this month’s Capitol attack by Trump supporters has some Congress members fearing that heated debates could turn violent.

Harris’s office suggested the gun carried by the Maryland Republican was for self-defense, saying that he and his family have faced security threats recently.

“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,” Harris’s office claimed in a statement.

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