A Virginia man is under arrest after attempting to penetrate the security red zone around the U.S. Capitol with a loaded handgun, more than 500 rounds of ammunition and fake Biden inauguration credentials. Police on Saturday said that the man, Wesley Allen Beeler, of Front Royal, Va., attempted to pass through a security checkpoint a block from the Capitol at about 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Beeler presented officers with fake credentials as he attempted to drive closer to the Capitol in his white Ford F-150 pickup truck. An officer noticed Beeler’s vehicle had multiple firearm-based stickers on it, such as “Assault Life” and “If they come for your guns Give ‘Em your bullets first.” Officers then asked if Beeler had any weapons in the truck, and he told them that he had a Glock 9mm in the center console, according to the court documents. Beeler was then pulled from the vehicle and officers conducted a full search. They found the pistol, with an extended magazine inserted and an additional 509 rounds of 9mm hollow point and ball ammunition. He also had a bandolier with 21 12-gauge shotgun shells.
The gun was not registered in Washington, D.C., police said. Beeler was taken to U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters for processing. He is charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possessing an unregistered firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device, according to D.C. police.
Friday night’s arrest underscores the seriousness of the security concerns surrounding Biden’s inauguration. More than 20,000 National Guard troops, many of them armed, have been deployed in Washington in advance of the event in an effort to prevent a repeat of the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill. Much of the city’s downtown is blocked off to vehicular traffic and the National Mall is closed to visitors for the next six days.