US Capitol Police have arrested a man in downtown Washington DC with a loaded handgun, more than 500 rounds of ammunition and fake inaugural credentials.
CNN reports that the man was attempting to pass through a Washington DC checkpoint carrying a semi-automatic pistol in the centre armrest of his car loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition.
"Police later recovered the pistol, as well as 509 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the handgun, according to an incident report provided by the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department."
The Virginia man, identified as Wesley Allen Beeler, was arrested for possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition, among other offences.
The arrest could be a sign of things to come. In the wake of the violent January 6 mob attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, all semblance of normality will be gone from this year's Inauguration Day.
Downtown Washington DC has been turned into an armed camp. The National Mall is sealed to the public and the Washington Monument has shut down. Some 21,000 National Guard troops will be on the job on January 20, alongside DC police and multiple federal law enforcement agencies.
Law enforcement officials insist they won't be caught flat-footed this time while the FBI warns of armed protests and potential attacks being planned by militant Trump supporters in every state capital.
Tensions will be high throughout January 20 and beyond. Officials warned on Friday (Saturday NZT) that the increased fortification of the Capitol and White House could drive potential insurgents to seek out softer targets in DC or around the country.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is telling people to stay home. Airbnb says it is cancelling all reservations to prevent people from going to the capital. Downtown roads and metro stations will be closed and authorities are so determined to keep people away that they're considered closing all the bridges from Virginia.
There will be no parade with crowds of people cheering on the new president and vice president. And there will be no inaugural balls for Biden, Harris and their spouses to dance the night away.
Like their predecessors, Biden and Harris will take their oaths of office outside the Capitol Building. Jennifer Lopez will perform and Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem. Biden, according to the inauguration website, will give a speech to the nation, "laying out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation".
Afterwards, Biden and Harris will complete the traditional "Pass in Review" inspection of troops from all service branches, a ritual that symbolises the peaceful transfer of power to a new president.
- Additional reporting: AP