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Colorado state representative apologizes for leaving loaded gun unattended in State Capitol bathroom

Rep. Don Wilson, a Republican who represents El Paso County, said in a statement Thursday he will “reaffirm my commitment to responsible handling procedures”
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Posted at 12:05 PM, Apr 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-12 14:05:26-04

DENVER — State Rep. Don Wilson is apologizing after leaving a loaded gun in a public bathroom of the Colorado State Capitol Tuesday night.

The incident was first made public Thursday afternoon by Democratic House leadership, who said in a joint statement the incident was “very serious” as well as “frustrating and disappointing.”

Rep. Wilson’s gun was discovered by a janitor on a shelf inside a single occupancy unisex bathroom at 9:21 p.m. Tuesday, according to a news release from the Colorado State Patrol.

The janitor then informed the State Patrol, which is in charge of security for the building, and troopers took possession of the gun about five minutes later. The gun – a 9 mm Glock handgun – was unloaded by troopers and safely stored, according to a news release from the CSP.

Nearly an hour later, at 10:14 p.m., Wilson contacted State Patrol to report “leaving items in the restroom,” and his gun was returned to him at 10:20 p.m.

A review of surveillance video showed Rep. Wilson exiting the restroom at 8:58 p.m., “indicating the firearm was unattended for 23 minutes before being discovered by the janitorial staff,” a CSP spokesperson said.

“I want to be clear that I take full and complete responsibility for the incident,” Wilson, a Republican who represents El Paso County, said in a statement Thursday, noting the Capitol building had already been closed for the day to the public. “I made a mistake and am very sorry.”

House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Democrat, criticized Wilson’s actions, saying in a statement, “the incident this week created a dangerous situation.” She added her caucus will now seek legislation to prohibit carrying firearms in the Capitol, which are prohibited inside the building except for lawmakers, who are exempt from that rule.

In a separate statement, Democratic House Majority Leader Monica Duran said, “As a responsible firearm owner, it’s frustrating and disappointing to continually see colleagues make mistakes with their guns,” adding that she had expressed “my deepest concerns to Rep. Wilson and Minority Leadership.”

Wilson will face no criminal charges from the incident as no state statues were violated, a CSP spokesperson said in a statement.

Our partners at The Denver Post report this isn’t the first time guns and lawmakers at the State Capitol have made the news. In 2022, Rep. Richard Holtorf, an Akron Republican, dropped a gun while rushing to a vote. And last year, Rep. Ron Weinberg, a Loveland Republican, had two guns stolen from his car when it was parked outside of the Capitol.

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

Colorado lawmaker apologizes for leaving loaded gun in State Capitol bathroom

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