A Colorado state lawmaker left a loaded handgun in the state Capitol building earlier this month, The Denver Post reported.
Colorado Rep. Jared Wright, a Republican legislator, left the gun in a black canvas bag under a committee room table. Rep. Jonathan Singer, who sits next to Wright on the House Local Government committee, discovered the gun as he was clearing out the committee room after a Feb. 6 debate on concealed handgun permits.
“I just immediately notified the Sergeant at Arms and soon we realized it was Jared’s bag,” Singer told The Post Wednesday.
Wright, a former policeman and current “peace officer,” told the paper he often carries a gun on the chamber floor.
“I feel it’s my duty to be a first responder wherever I am at,” said Wright. “That’s why I carry it.”
But Colorado state law prohibits carrying a firearm in the Capitol “without legal authority.”
Wright agreed to stop carrying a gun inside the building after speaking with the Colorado State Patrol about the incident. He also received a call from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office.
This isn’t the first time a politician has gotten into trouble for toting a firearm.
In 2012, California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was cited after police discovered a loaded .45-caliber handgun in his carry-on briefcase at the Ontario International Airport. Donnelly, who said the incident was an accident, was later placed on probation for three years as part of a plea agreement.
In January, Leslie Combs, a Kentucky lawmaker, accidentally fired a gun in her Capitol Annex office. That same month, New York Homeland Security chief Jerry Hauer used a laser on his handgun as a pointer during a meeting with Swedish officials.
But in other statehouses, carrying firearms to work is more commonplace. In Texas, dozens of lawmakers have concealed-carry permits and regularly bring their firearms into work. They can even use their permits as an E-ZPass of sorts to skip a security area with metal detectors and scanners.