A man was arrested at a Washington, D.C. checkpoint on Friday (Jan. 15) after being found with an unregistered handgun and over 500 rounds of ammunition. Authorities say the man — identified as Wesley A. Beeler from Virginia — also had fake inauguration credentials.
He was stopped by the Metropolitan Police and denied access through the checkpoint before his arrest. According to NBC 4, Beeler had pro-gun bumper stickers on his car, including two that said “Assault Life” and another which read, “If they come for your guns, give ‘em your bullets first.”
Upon searching his vehicle, police found a loaded Glock 9MM pistol, 509 rounds of ammunition, a 17-round Glock magazine and 21 12-gauge shotgun shells. Police are not sure what Beeler had intended to do with the weapon or why he was in D.C.
News of the man’s arrest arrives as local and federal authorities continue to strengthen security measures in the city ahead of President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Earlier this week, the FBI said it was tracking up to 10 events that are scheduled on or around Inauguration Day that have the potential to become violent. Authorities have reported seeing “an extensive amount of concerning online chatter,” including social media threats and calls for armed protests.
“We’re concerned about the potential for violence at multiple protests and rallies planned here in D.C. and at state capital buildings around the country in the days to come that could bring armed individuals within close proximity to government buildings and officials,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a briefing on Thursday (Jan. 14).
In addition to the Secret Service, Capitol Police and U.S. Park Police, as many as 25,000 National Guardsmen will also be stationed in the city for the inauguration. Authorities have also closed off multiple venues and streets where demonstrations were scheduled to be held.
Beeler was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possessing an unregistered firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.