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Republican lawmaker leaves loaded gun unattended in Colorado Capitol bathroom


Republican lawmaker leaves loaded gun unattended in Colorado Capitol bathroom

Apr 11, 2024 | 6:06 pm ET
By Sara Wilson
Republican lawmaker leaves loaded gun unattended in Colorado Capitol bathroom
A view of the Colorado Capitol on Jan. 25, 2024. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

A Republican Colorado lawmaker left a loaded handgun unattended in a Capitol bathroom earlier this week, the Colorado State Patrol confirmed on Thursday.

CSP said a janitor found a 9mm Glock on a shelf inside a single-occupancy restroom on Tuesday at around 9:20 p.m. The Capitol stopped letting members of the public enter the building at 7 p.m.

Rep. Don Wilson of Monument said the weapon is his and apologized for the incident in a written statement on Thursday afternoon. Wilson was at the Capitol for a House Judiciary Committee meeting, which ran late into the evening following consideration of an impeachment attempt against Secretary of State Jena Griswold and one other bill.

“I want to be clear that I take full and complete accountability for the incident,” he wrote.

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

CSP said video surveillance shows Wilson leaving the restroom around 8:58, meaning the gun was unattended for about 20 minutes.

Wilson contacted CSP around 10:15 to report leaving the item in the restroom. The gun was returned to him about five minutes later.

Republican lawmaker leaves loaded gun unattended in Colorado Capitol bathroom
State Rep. Don Wilson, second from left, is seen at a Nov. 30, 2023, Colorado GOP luncheon. (Suzie Glassman for Colorado Newsline)

“After completing an investigation into the incident it was determined by Capitol troopers that no state statutes were violated and there are no criminal charges pending as a result of this incident,” a release from CSP said.

People with Capitol credentials, including lawmakers, are allowed to carry firearms inside the building. The Senate passed a bill last week, however, that would strip lawmakers of that privilege and prohibit people from carrying guns in sites such as schools, polling places and at the Capitol. The measre is now in the House for consideration.

“The consequences of leaving a firearm unattended in a public space could be very serious, and the incident this week created a dangerous situation. This should not have happened and cannot happen again, and this is why our caucus is pursuing legislation to prohibit carrying firearms in the Capitol,” House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Dillion Democrat, said in a statement.

House Majority Leader Monica Duran said she expects Wilson to “follow through with his commitment not to carry his firearm at the Capitol.”

Wilson is not seeking another term in the Legislature and is instead running for an El Paso County commissioner seat.

There have been several incidents of improper firearm handling by Republicans at the Legislature in recent years. Last year, Rep. Ron Weinberg of Loveland had two guns stolen from his parked car outside the building. In 2022, Rep. Richard Holtorf of Akron dropped his gun inside the Capitol as he rushed to a vote. And in 2014, Rep. Jared Wright of Fruita left his gun unattended in a committee room.