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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Gloria Oladipo

Republican lawmaker leaves loaded gun in Colorado capitol bathroom

The Colorado state capitol.
The weapon was left unattended for 23 minutes before it was discovered by janitorial staff. Photograph: David Zalubowski/AP

A Colorado state legislator publicly apologized after leaving a loaded gun in the state’s capitol building.

Colorado state representative Don Wilson, a Republican, confirmed that he left a loaded 9mm Glock handgun in a capitol bathroom on Tuesday evening, according to a statement on X.

“I want to be clear that I take full and complete accountability for the incident. I made a mistake and am very sorry,” Wilson said.

Wilson added that he takes firearm safety “very seriously”, calling the latest incident a “humbling experience”.

The gun had been left unattended for 23 minutes before being discovered by the capitol’s janitorial staff, who contacted the Colorado state patrol (CSP) about the weapon, NBC News reported.

Nearly an hour later, Wilson contacted the CSP “to report leaving items in the restroom”, the CSP said in a statement. The firearm was then returned to him.

State troopers confirmed that the building was closed to the public before Wilson misplaced his gun.

Wilson did not violate any state rules and no criminal charges are being weighed, state patrol officers said in a statement, the Colorado Sun reported.

Colorado Democrats have argued that the latest mishap proves that firearms should be banned from the state’s capitol.

“The consequences of leaving a firearm unattended in a public space could be very serious, and the incident this week created a dangerous situation,” said state representative Julie McCluskie, the Democratic House speaker, in a statement, Colorado Public Radio News reported.

The Colorado legislature is also considering a “sensitive spaces” bill that would ban firearms in the capitol building for everyone, excluding law enforcement officers, Colorado Public Radio News reported.

Wilson has also reportedly pledged to no longer bring guns into the capitol building, the House majority leader, Monica Duran, said to Colorado Public Radio News.

Tuesday’s accident is not the first time that a Colorado lawmaker has mishandled a gun in the state’s capitol.

In 2022, Republican state representative Richard Holtorf, who is running for Congress, accidentally dropped his gun while rushing to vote in the House’s chamber, Colorado Public Radio News reported.

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