Video of armed man in Statehouse results in security changes

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A Statehouse surveillance video that caught a man with a gun going through lawmakers' desks is generating a new discussion about security inside the State Capitol.

The video shows a man with a gun on his belt using a Cub Scout-Boy Scout tour as cover, on the floor of the House of Representatives, going through legislators desks, taking photos of papers even digging into a waste basket.

"It was scary to see that," said Rep. Lawerence Denney, (R) Midvale. "I don't know if we've ever had something like that in the state."

The man remains unidentified and there's no on-going investigation.

But as a result, public access to the House and Senate chambers is now suspended on the weekends.

And those chambers will also be closed to the public after 6 pm on weekdays although on weekdays the Capitol itself will remain open until 10 pm.

And his behavior is generating discussion among lawmakers about whether security inside the statehouse should be tightened further.

It's not the gun that bothers legislative leaders so much as firearms are allowed in the Capitol but they resent the man's apparent snooping.

"It'd be nice to know what the mental stability of the person was," said Sen. Brent Hill, president pro tem. "But again he didn't do anything illegal in regards to coming in with the sidearm."

"Members of the public have access to the people's house here," said House Speaker Scott Bedke. "But when they start going through drawers and desks and wastebaskets then that crosses the line."

State troopers and unarmed security guards are present inside the Statehouse but the video underscores the difficulty of balancing open government with the safety of lawmakers as well as the public they are elected to serve.