While congressional security is on point when it comes to making sure journalists can’t take notes in public hearings, the Capitol Police still struggle with forgetting where in the federal legislative complex they last put down their Glocks.
Roll Call reports the following three Glock-related mishaps that occurred on U.S. Capitol grounds sometime in the last several months:
January 29: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall.” An employee in the visitor’s center found the gun and returned it to Capitol Police.
March 24: “A 7- or 8-year-old child visiting the Capitol with his parents found the next loaded Glock lost by a dignitary protection officer,” Roll Call writes. Allegedly, the child found the weapon in House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) bathroom. A member of Boehner’s security detail had left the gun there earlier.
April 16: A janitor cleaning up at Capitol Police headquarters discovered an unattended firearm and reported it.
“Unlike a gun with a traditional safety,” Roll Call points out, “a Glock will fire if the trigger is pulled.” In the United States, kids fire and receive fatal shots all the time; it’s just a lot easier to shoot accidentally if the gun you’re holding in your hand doesn’t have a safety on it.
Roll Call reports that the Capitol Police’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended six days of suspension without pay for the officer involved in the Jan. 29 incident, and that the other two cases are still under investigation.
How often do officers leave their guns unattended around the Capitol complex? The answer is almost impossible to know because Capitol Police are not required to disclose such incidents. And, according to Roll Call, when Capitol Police lose a gun, they try to advertise as little about the oversight as possible.
Top law enforcement officials on the Hill did not respond to Roll Call’s request for comments.
It’s still illegal for most people to bring guns into the Capitol. Though Capitol Police insist it is was totally legal for Representatives Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Ken Buck (R-CO) to pose with an AR-15 in Gowdy’s office on Capitol Hill. AR-15s are assault rifles that are illegal under D.C. law.
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) April 16, 2015