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Glock Photo Sparks Firestorm on Capitol Hill

This gun was left in a bathroom stall inside the Senate office portion of the Capitol Visitor Center on Jan. 29, according to a source. (Photo obtained by CQ Roll Call)
This gun was left in a bathroom stall inside the Senate office portion of the Capitol Visitor Center on Jan. 29, according to a source. (Photo obtained by CQ Roll Call)

A firestorm sparked by CQ Roll Call’s May 1 report on three instances of Capitol Police leaving loaded guns in problematic places has put top law enforcement officials on edge, launched a hunt for the source behind the photo of one unattended Glock and drawn fresh scrutiny from Congress.  

“It’s unacceptable that firearms were left unattended by Capitol Police officers,” Rep. Tom Graves, the Georgia Republican who wields the gavel on the House Appropriations panel with jurisdiction over the agency, said in a Monday email. “While each of these incidents is under investigation by the Capitol Police’s Inspector General, the Subcommittee will take an active role in oversight efforts to help ensure similar incidents don’t happen in the future.” The House Administration Committee continues to gather information. A hearing to review the current status of security at the Capitol Complex and the challenges the Capitol Police face is likely. Two weeks ago, Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., and ranking member Robert A. Brady, D-Pa., met with Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving to discuss the communications process for alerting the congressional community to emergency situations.  

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt stated in an email he was “very concerned” by the May 1 report, but the Missouri Republican did not say whether he would be using his jurisdiction over the agency to look into how often Capitol Police report lost firearms. “I am very concerned by recent reports of unattended U.S. Capitol Police firearms. I take the security of the Capitol Complex and our visitors seriously, and I will continue to stay engaged until we have more answers on this matter,” Blunt said.  

After Democrats and Republicans with a direct say in the department’s budget and operations began to criticize the security lapses, Capitol Police transparency and the chief’s leadership, Dine ordered a review from the agency’s inspector general. That office, established in 2005 as an independent entity, reports directly to the Capitol Police Board. An attempt to get a comment from Inspector General Fay F. Ropella was unsuccessful.  

A source said Monday the Capitol Police’s Internal Affairs Division, which reports directly to Dine, also appears to be hunting for a whistleblower. Over the weekend, investigators allegedly started pulling emails related to a photo of the gun to try to determine how it may have been leaked. Department spokespeople did not comment Monday.  


Capitol Police Investigating Gun Report Leak

Do Capitol Police Problems Go Beyond the Bathroom? (Updated)

Capitol Police Left Guns in Bathrooms (Video)

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