A Colorado Republican freshman lawmaker left his loaded handgun in a state capitol committee room after debating a bill about concealed weapons, according to the Denver Post.
Rep. Jared Wright forgot his weapon after the committee meeting, leaving it in a canvas bag under his desk. A fellow lawmaker discovered the firearm and alerted the sergeant at arms.
The capitol is supposed to be a gun-free zone, but the Durango Herald reported last year that many lawmakers commonly bring their guns to work, bypassing the metal detectors that other visitors are required to pass through by entering the building through doors locked to the general public.
An exception to the ban on weapons is for people who have “legal authority” to carry a gun, such as law enforcement.
Wright told the Denver Post that he falls into this category because he was a cop from 2007-11.
“I feel it’s my duty to be a first responder wherever I am at,” he told the Post. “That’s why I carry it.”
The Herald reported that it’s an “open secret” that many members of the state legislature carry their weapons inside the capitol building, but Wright’s carelessness with his weapon provoked a call from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office.
Wright told the governor he would no longer bring his weapon to work, the Post reported, and that he would be more careful with it in the future.
In 2007, an armed man tried to force his way into then-Gov. Bill Ritter’s office before he was shot and killed by a Colorado State Patrol officer.
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