Newly-elected GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.) said he was armed last week when an angry mob attacked the Capitol.
Cawthorn told the Smoky Mountain News a day after the attack that he was on the House floor when he and other lawmakers were told to evacuate as rioters began to break down windows and doors, after forcing their way into the Capitol building.
“Fortunately, I was armed, so we would have been able to protect ourselves,” Cawthorn told the North Carolina newspaper.
It's not entirely clear if Cawthorn carried a gun on to the House floor.
Cawthorn’s director of communications, Micah Bock, said in an emailed statement to The Hill that Cawthorn “exercises his 2nd Amendment rights, as well as privileges accorded to him as a member of Congress.”
Bock added that “Congressman Cawthorn seeks to abide by all known Capitol Police regulations.”
According to a 1967 regulation, members of Congress are exempt from a federal law banning firearms on the Capitol grounds, though it still bars weapons from being carried on the House floor.
The Huffington Post earlier this week reported that a spokesperson for Cawthorn confirmed he had a gun with him on the day of the attack.
Metal detectors have now been installed outside the House chambers, to the consternation of some GOP lawmakers who have been walking around them to reach the floor.
Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett sent a notice that metal detectors were being installed as part of a new screening process that everyone, including members, must pass through.
The metal detectors are set up at select entrances to the chamber, according to Blodgett, who added that “failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber.”
Cawthorn earlier on the day of the attack spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally as part of President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE’s efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election amid unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud.
Following the Capitol attack, the freshman congressman joined a group of other GOP lawmakers in voting to support challenges to the certification of votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania, both of which were won by President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE.