According to a probe by the Capitol Police Board, a child aged 7 or 8 visiting the Capitol on March 24 made his way into House Speaker John Boehner’s suite, and found a loaded gun in his bathroom. The discovery of the Glock was among at least three instances of Congress’ keystone cops leaving their weapons in “problematic places”.
A handgun was found by a janitor in “plain sight” at the Capitol Police headquarters on April 16. The April incident happened one day after a Florida man landed a gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn — a security breach that has the Capitol Police and Secret Service in hot water.
On January 29, a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail left a Glock in a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom, with the magazine removed but stuffed inside a toilet seat cover holder.
Unlike a gun with a traditional safety, a Glock will fire if the trigger is pulled — making the young child’s discovery in Boehner’s office particularly concerning.
Gun control groups are obviously worrying. “It’s a problem we see in headlines across the country when a child unintentionally shoots themselves, a sibling or a playmate,” said Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for Everytown USA, a gun control group funded by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
How often do officers leave their guns unattended around the Capitol complex? The answer is unknown because Capitol Police are not required to disclose such incidents. While the department does not discuss internal personnel matters, termination of employment is among potential penalties. The officer in the January case was suspended for six days without pay. The March and April incidents remain under investigation and punishment has yet to be meted out.
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