A Virginia man has been arrested and released after presenting an “unauthorized Inauguration credential” at a U.S. Capitol Complex security checkpoint. His vehicle contained a handgun and ammunition, court records reveal. But the man arrested told the Washington Post the whole thing should be chalked as “an honest mistake” which involved a job he obtained to guard media equipment. That’s according to an after-court interview the Post described as “tearful.”
According to documents tweeted by Washington, D.C.’s WAGA-TV, Wesley Allen Beeler, 31, of Front Royal, was nabbed at about 6:30 p.m. Friday at a capitol security perimeter put in place due to the upcoming inauguration of Joe Biden. Beeler, driving a Ford F-150, “pull[ed] up to the checkpoint and presented an unauthorized Inauguration credential.” Authorities asked Beeler to pull over for further investigation, the court records say. Beeler handed over his driver’s license. His name was not on an “authorized access list” and was thus “not authorized to enter the restricted area.”
Beeler’s truck contained pro-gun stickers which read “Assault Life” and “If they come for your guns Give ‘Em your bullets first.” Thus, officers asked if he had weapons in the vehicle. He admitted that he had a Glock under his armrest.
A search uncovered a Glock Model 17 9mm handgun with one round loaded in its chamber, a high-capacity magazine, and 509 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
The search also uncovered 21 shotgun shells.
Beeler’s family members told the Washington Post that he held a private security job and was supposed to be working a detail near the capitol. A review of Virginia private security licenses by several news organizations, including Law&Crime, revealed an active Private Security Service Registration license for Beeler. The license, issued in June 2015, said Beeler was an active Armed Security Officer/Courier, Alarm Respondent, and Unarmed Security Officer/Courier. The license contained basic handgun, shotgun, and patrol rifle endorsements.
A Sunday evening press release by the U.S. Capitol Police contained a more truncated telling of the arrest (emphasis ours on the government’s shifting description of the credential Beeler possessed):
At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2021, United States Capitol Police (USCP) officers stopped a Suspect at North Capitol Street and E Street, NE, at a security checkpoint put in place for the Presidential Inauguration. The Suspect presented a non-government issued credential, and the officers observed a handgun in plain sight in the Suspect’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle also found numerous rounds of ammunition.
The Suspect was placed under arrest and transported to USCP Headquarters for processing.
Beeler is charged with Carrying a Pistol without a License (CPWOL); Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, and Possession of Unregistered Ammunition, the Capitol Police press release states.
A judge ordered Beeler released on personal recognizance and ordered him to stay away from the District of Columbia.
After court, Beeler told the Post that he was working a private security detail guarding media equipment in downtown Washington, D.C. through a company called MVP Protective Services.
“I pulled up to a checkpoint after getting lost in D.C. because I’m a country boy,” Beeler told the Post directly. “I showed them the inauguration badge that was given to me.”
Per the newspaper, Beeler said “[h]e was running late to work and forgot that his firearm was in his truck when he left his home in Virginia, where he said he has a license to carry. He denied that he had more than 500 rounds of ammunition listed in his arrest report.”
“It was just me forgetting to take [the gun] out of my truck before I left for work,” Beeler also said, per the Post. I don’t know what the D.C. laws are. It still comes back on me, but I’m not a criminal.”
Beeler said the equipment he was hired to guard was at 7th and Constitution and that the badge he used had previously been sufficient to enter that area.
“I don’t want my kids to think I’m a bad person,” he told the Post.
[image via Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images]
Editor’s note: Several light edits were made to this piece after its initial publication for clarity and to correct a minor typographical error.
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