Loaded Chambers: A Brief History of Politicians Accidentally Shooting Things

Shoot happens when public servants unintentionally fire, drop, and forget their firearms.

Thomas Fuchs

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Last week, Colorado state Rep. Jared Wright, a Republican, left his handgun in a canvas bag in the state capitol—following a hearing on rolling back concealed carry laws. Wright, a former police officer, told the Denver Post he will stop carrying his revolver to committee meetings. He wasn’t the first public servant in recent memory to forget, shoot, drop, or otherwise unintentionally mishandle a firearm:

2014
Kentucky state Rep. Leslie Combs, a Democrat, accidentally fires a gun in her capitol office while attempting to empty it in front of another lawmaker.

 

2013
West Virginia Del. Kelli Sobonya drops her handgun in a meeting with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. “I said, ‘Hey, Governor, you don’t have to worry; I have my permit,'” she tells the Charleston Daily Mail.

Dave Evans, an aide to Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, leaves a loaded gun on top of a capitol bathroom toilet paper dispenser.

Texas state Rep. Drew Darby is arrested at an Austin airport after a loaded .380 Ruger is found in his carry-on bag.

2012
New Hampshire state Rep. Kyle Tasker explains that he dropped one of his two handguns on the floor of the capitol because he was “loopy” from just donating blood.

2011
More butterfingered Granite State Republicans: State Rep. George Lambert drops his holstered gun outside the statehouse. State Rep. Paul Mirski drops his firearm during a meeting and doesn’t get around to picking it up until the event adjourns.

 

2008
Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern is caught bringing a loaded handgun into the capitol in her purse. “As soon as my purse went through the scanner and the uh, gentleman there said, ‘Representative Kern,’ I went, ‘Aw, I forgot!,'” Kern tells a local news station. It’s the second time in two months.

2007
An aide to Democratic Virginia Sen. James Webb is arrested for carrying his boss’ loaded gun into a Senate office building.

2006
Virginia Del. Jack Reid fires his handgun in his office as he’s trying to remove the clip. The round strikes a bulletproof vest hanging on a door.

Vice President Dick Cheney hits a hunting companion in the face with birdshot while hunting quail in Texas.

2002
A pistol goes off as it’s being handed to Georgia Rep. Bob Barr at a reception. Explains the lobbyist who passed the gun, “We were handling it safely, except that it was loaded.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate