Politics & Government

NCGA police arrest man they say tried to enter legislature with handgun

A 36-year-old Raleigh man was arrested at the General Assembly Wednesday after security screeners say they found a handgun and two magazines in his bag.

General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock said in an interview Friday that this was the first instance of a gun being found during the screening process. Abraham James Zeiger was arrested and charged with one count of carrying a concealed gun and one count of violating legislative building rules.

Brock said Zeiger came into the Legislative Building, 16 W. Jones St., on Wednesday morning and was asked by the security staff whether he had any firearms in his bag. He told the screeners he wasn’t sure, Brock said.

When Zeiger went through the X-ray scanners, Brock said, security saw something that “didn’t look right” in the bag so they searched it. They found a 9 mm handgun and two magazines, each loaded with 15 bullets, according to Brock. Because of how the gun was situated in the bag, Brock said, the screeners couldn’t tell what it was. They could just tell it was a metal object.

Brock said the incident was a “total surprise” and that Zeiger was not known to the police department.

Zeiger does not have a conceal carry permit.

On Monday night on the House floor, Rep. Joe John, a Wake County Democrat, said that Zeiger had an appointment with him that day, but never arrived.

John thanked the General Assembly police who were on duty and detained the man.

John also asked his fellow lawmakers from both parties if now is the right time to sit down and “reach a commonsense consensus” on firearms.

Previously, Brock said, one or two people have told the security screeners at the General Assembly that they had concealed weapons on them but took the weapons to their cars and did not attempt to bring them into the building.

“I can’t be more pleased with the (screening) process,” Brock said of the security measures that caught the gun. “It could have easily been missed.”

Reporter Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan contributed to this story.