Log In

Reset Password
Regional News

Republican state representative left a loaded handgun in Colorado Capitol bathroom

Incident comes as Democrats try to ban guns at the state house
The Colorado House of Representatives convenes on the first day of Colorado’s 2024 legislative session Jan. 10 at the Colorado Capitol. (Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun via Report for America file)

A Republican state representative left a loaded, semi-automatic handgun in a bathroom at the Colorado Capitol on Tuesday night, an incident that comes as Democrats are trying to ban firearm possession in the building – and the GOP is fighting them.

The Colorado State Patrol, which provides security at the Capitol, said Thursday that the gun, a 9 mm Glock, was left on a shelf inside a single occupancy, unisex restroom. It was found by a janitor at about 9:30 p.m.

State Rep. Don Wilson, a Monument Republican, said in a written statement that the weapon is his.

“I want to be clear that I take full and complete accountability for the incident,” he said in a written statement Thursday. “I made a mistake and am very sorry. … I take firearm safety very seriously. This is a humbling experience and I will reaffirm my commitment to responsible handling procedures.”

The State Patrol said troopers reviewed surveillance video in the building that showed Wilson exiting the restroom at 8:58 p.m. “indicating the firearm was unattended for 23 minutes before being discovered by the janitorial staff.”

The Capitol was closed to the public at 7 p.m. Tuesday, though the House Judiciary Committee was meeting until about 9 p.m. that night. That means members of the public may still have been in the building through the end of that committee meeting even though the Capitol’s security checkpoints were closed to new visitors.

“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,” the State Patrol said in a written statement.

The incident comes as the Legislature is debating Senate Bill 131, which would expand the list of places where people are prohibited from carrying a firearm – concealed or openly – to include the Colorado Capitol, schools and voting centers.


The measure passed the Senate last week on a 21-14 vote that was mostly along party lines.

“I’ve heard ancillary stories of colleagues who have mishandled a firearm,” Sen. Larry Liston, a Colorado Springs Republican, said last week in the Senate while arguing in opposition to the bill. “But not once did I ever feel threatened.”

Liston also said it would be easy for a member of the public to sneak into the Capitol with a firearm.

There have been other incidents at the Capitol in recent years involving Republican state lawmakers and guns:

  • In January 2023, incoming state Rep. Ron Weinberg, R-Loveland, had two guns stolen from his vehicle while it was parked outside the building.
  • In 2022, state Rep. Richard Holtorf, R-Akron, accidentally dropped his gun in the building as he rushed to a vote in the House. The gun didn’t go off.
  • In 2014, Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita, left a gun in his open bag in a committee room after a hearing on concealed carry permits.

No charges were filed in those incidents.

Colorado Sun staff writer Sandra Fish contributed to this report.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.