Colorado legislator apologizes after leaving loaded gun in Capitol bathroom

A Colorado lawmaker apologized Thursday for leaving a firearm unattended in a bathroom at the State Capitol this week.

Republican state Rep. Don Wilson left a loaded 9 mm Glock handgun on a shelf in a single-occupancy bathroom around 9 p.m. local time Tuesday, the Colorado State Patrol said in a news release. The Capitol was closed to the public at 7 p.m. that evening.

State Patrol officials said security video showed the gun was left unattended for about 20 minutes before it was found by the janitorial staff and safely stored. Wilson contacted state troopers about an hour later, and they returned the gun to him.

“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 in a statement Thursday. “I take firearm safety very seriously. This is a humbling experience and I will reaffirm my commitment to responsible handling procedures.”

Colorado State Police said that after an investigation it was determined that Wilson had not violated any state laws.

“Individuals with Capitol credentials and access are permitted to carry a firearm inside the secure areas in compliance with Colorado gun laws,” state police said.

Democratic House Speaker Julie McCluskie, admonished Wilson, saying in a statement “this incident created a dangerous situation.”

She added that Democrats are pursuing legislation to prohibit carrying firearms in the Capitol.

A measure that would prohibit firearms in sensitive spaces, including certain government buildings, was introduced in February.

Senate President Steve Fenberg, a Democrat who supports the measure, said, “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.”

Similar efforts have fallen short in Congress.

The House Natural Resources Committee last year rejected a Democratic amendment to ban firearms from the committee’s hearing room after the Republican-controlled Rules Committee removed a provision put in place by Democrats that had barred firearms in committees and hearing rooms.

The incident Tuesday was not the first time a gun has been mishandled in the Colorado State Capitol.

State Rep. Richard Holtorf, who is running for Congress in the 4th Congressional District, dropped his gun outside the House chamber while he was headed to a vote in 2022, The Denver Post reported.

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