A 22-year-old Virginia man, Guy Berry, was arrested while carrying a pistol, three high-powered magazines, and 37 rounds of ammunition near the U.S. Capitol on Sunday. This made him the third person to be arrested by police under increased security that weekend in response to the January 6 riot.
According to Laura Meckler of the Washington Post, Berry's weapon – a Glock 22 – was visible in a holster. His aunt told the paper, "He's one of those open carry people," adding, "I keep telling him that black men can't walk around with guns on their hips, but he doesn't believe me."
It's not clear why Berry was near the Capitol; According to the Post, he is a supporter of President Donald Trump, a fact he seems to be openly showing on Meckler's Facebook pages. His aunt said Berry often shared his pro-Trump stance with her.
The ABC news network in Washington, DC reports that Berry was arrested for owning an unlicensed pistol, carrying high-capacity magazines, and unregistered ammunition. In the city, it is illegal to have an unregistered weapon, openly carry a weapon, have a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and carry ammunition without registering a weapon.
Berry's arrest follows the arrest of Virginian Wesley Beeler, who was arrested Friday by the US Capitol Police for having an unregistered Glock – and for presenting an opening badge labeled "unauthorized" by the department at a security checkpoint.
Beeler has claimed he was a security firm hired to bolster DC's National Guard, Secret Service, Capitol Police and City Police, which increased their presence prior to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. He told the Washington Post that it was an "honest mistake" to have a gun on you, caused by his rush in rushing to work.
"I drove to a checkpoint after getting lost in DC because I'm a compatriot. I showed them the housewarming badge that was given to me," said Beeler, adding, "I don't know what the DC- Laws are. It still comes back to me, but I'm not a criminal. "
On Saturday, Capitol Police made a second arrest of a woman reported by the NPR to be Linda Magovern, 63, from Connecticut.
Magovern was reportedly stopped in her vehicle at a police checkpoint near Washington Union Station, which is just blocks from the US Capitol complex.
She is not reported to have had a gun, but she is said to have told officials she was a law enforcement officer first before telling them she was a member of the President's Cabinet. According to police, she also showed them "a round metal object that was later identified as the Military Police Challenge Coin" – a memento usually given to members of a military unit or police force to identify or honor a member's participation in a notable event.
According to the Washington Post, Magovern was assessed by the DC Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program prior to his incarceration.
All three arrests come as Washington security forces are on high alert. Following a belated and criticized response to the Capitol uprising, security in federal buildings has increased dramatically, according to Vox's Alex Ward. Newly erected fences surround much of the National Mall and Capitol Complex. By the day of inauguration on January 20, 25,000 National Guard troops are expected to be stationed in the city. Thousands of police officers and members of the secret service are also on duty.
And as Li Zhou of Vox wrote, many parts of the city are simply inaccessible:
The Secret Service has also worked with local officials, according to the Washington Post, to facilitate a large number of road closures, dividing the area around the White House, National Mall and Capitol into "red" and "green" zones. In the red zones that surround federal buildings and national monuments, traffic is restricted to registered vehicles. Residential and business traffic is permitted in the green zones surrounding these red zones.
Both zones have security checkpoints where all three detainees are reported to have been arrested.
Given the information about possible threats, it is expected that security will remain strict, at least until inauguration. And some newly initiated measures are expected to be more permanent. New metal detectors have been installed near the chambers of Congress – and to the dismay of some members, even legislators have to go through them.
Support Vox explanatory journalism
At Vox, we want to answer your most important questions every day and provide you and our audiences around the world with information that empowers you through understanding. Vox's work reaches more people than ever before, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism is consuming resources. Your financial contribution is not a donation, but it does allow our staff to continue offering free articles, videos and podcasts to everyone who needs them. Please consider contributing to Vox today, starting at $ 3.