Lawmaker Sorry for Leaving Loaded Gun in State Capitol

Colleagues accuse Colorado Republican Don Wilson of 'dangerous' behavior
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2024 10:19 AM CDT
Lawmaker Sorry for Leaving Loaded Gun in State Capitol
In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Rose Pugliese, right, Mesa County, Colo., commissioner, and Don Wilson, then the mayor of Monument, Colo., speak during a news conference in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Colorado Rep. Don Wilson will need to be a bit more careful with his guns moving forward. The Republican state lawmaker had to apologize Thursday after leaving a loaded gun in a bathroom at the State Capitol, where it sat on a shelf in a single-occupancy bathroom for about 20 minutes late Tuesday until it was discovered by janitorial staff, per NBC News. "I want to be clear that I take full and complete accountability for the incident. I made a mistake and am very sorry," Wilson, who's running for the El Paso County Board of Commissioners, said in a Thursday statement. "I take firearm safety very seriously" and "will reaffirm my commitment to responsible handling procedures," he said.

The Capitol had been closed to the public for two hours when Wilson left the 9mm Glock handgun unattended in the bathroom around 9pm. He reported a lost item to State Patrol a little over an hour after the gun was found and had it returned, per the Denver Post. Colorado State Police determined Wilson didn't break any state laws as "individuals with Capitol credentials and access are permitted to carry a firearm inside the secure areas in compliance with Colorado gun laws." Still, Democratic House Speaker Julie McCluskie said Wilson had "created a dangerous situation." She referred to a measure, introduced by Democrats in February, that would prohibit firearms in certain government buildings, including state legislative buildings and courthouses.

"A Republican lawmaker recklessly leaving a loaded gun in a public bathroom only demonstrates the very need for gun safety policies like the ones Democrats are fighting for," said Senate President Steve Fenberg, per NBC. Democratic Majority Leader Monica Duran said it was "frustrating and disappointing to continually see colleagues make mistakes with their guns." State Rep. Ron Weinberg, a Republican, had two guns stolen from his car parked outside the Capitol in 2023, per the Post. The previous year, another Republican, State Rep. Richard Holtorf, dropped his gun outside the House chamber while on his way to a vote, per NBC. (More Colorado stories.)

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