Mo. House staffer leaves gun in public Capitol restroom
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Mo. House staffer leaves gun in public Capitol restroom

Date: September 23, 2013
By: Matt Evans
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 294; Police Report

JEFFERSON CITY - A loaded handgun claimed by a staffer of Missouri's House speaker was found abandoned in a public restroom of the state Capitol building on Friday.

According to a report by Capitol police, a House staffer discovered a Kahr CM9 9mm pistol loaded with, "one round in the chamber and six rounds in the magazine." Police also discovered all of the rounds were hollow-point ammunition.

According to the official report from Capitol police, the gun belonged to David Evans, to whom the weapon eventually was returned after interventions by the House speaker's office.

According to House staff, Evans is a recently hired legislative assistant for House Speaker Tim Jones, R-St. Louis County. Jones did not return repeated calls for a comment Monday.

According to the police report, Evans has a valid conceal carry permit for the weapon and police gave it back to him after he was "able to identify the weapon by brand, caliber, color, size, the holster and the ammunition count and type that was in the weapon."

Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, said Jones should should issue a public apology and reprimand Evans.

"We have a responsibility, particularly, as legislators, particularly in a public building, to be responsible, and this incident clearly wasn't," Newman said.

The Capitol police agency's official report includes two inquiries by the House speaker's office about the firearm and a request to get it returned.

Initially, at 11:06am, less about one hour after the abandoned firearm had been discovered, the report cites a call from the House speaker's secretary, Lisa Boundrant, to report that a staffer had left a handgun in a basement restroom.

According to the report, Boundrant was informed that she would be contacted "as information was available on the handgun."

Four minutes later, the Speaker's secretary is reported as calling Capitol police again, this time to ask if Evans could retrieve the handgun. Again, she was advised that Capitol police still were in the process of gathering information.

Later in the day, the firearm was returned to Evans.

No charges were filed in the incident.

The House Democratic leader expressed relief the firearm was not abandoned in the statehouse when the legislature is in session and when there are large groups of school children touring the building.

"I think we might have been looking at a different scenario," said House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis. "Thank goodness no one was hurt in the incident."

Hummel called it "careless" and said he wonders if Evans got his conceal carry permit in the state of Missouri or somewhere else.

"To do something like that in a public building where there are so many school children that come in and out just shows a real lack of judgment," he said.

The 62-year-old Evans began working as Jones' legislative assistant earlier this month.

A law passed in 2011 and signed by Gov. Jay Nixon authorizes staff of legislators and statewide elected officials to carry concealed weapons into the Capitol building, if they have permit -- although signs at entrance doors inform the general public that firearms are prohibited.

Hummel says after the incident on Friday, it might be time to revisit that law.

"The public is not allowed to carry concealed weapons in Missouri government buildings. It's another case of legislators thinking they're above the law," he said.

Evans was not in his state Capitol office Monday and calls to a number listed on the police report went unreturned.