On Tuesday, we published a piece from the current issue of the print magazine about lawmakers who were caught mishandling their firearms at work. But after the story came out, I was flooded with submissions from readers who remembered other instances of lawmakers getting in gun trouble—at home, at the airport, and at Dunkin Donuts. Here's an addendum:
2013: An AR-15 rifle is stolen from the unlocked garage of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.). "Her family is very big on gun safety and she wants to get to the bottom of this herself," a spokesman tellsPolitico.
Illinois Democratic state Sen. Donne Trotter is sentenced to a year of court supervision and 60 hours of community service after attempting to bring a gun onto a plane at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Trotter says he forgot to remove the .25-caliber gun and ammunition from his bag after leaving his second job as a security guard.
2012: Colorado state Sen. Randy Baumgardner (R) calls police to report that a revolver had been stolen from his home, where it had stored it "in plain view" on a shelf in his closet.
2011: Tennessee state Rep. Curry Todd (R) is arrested for driving and possessing a gun while under the influence after a traffic stop in Nashville. He serves 48 hours in jail but will get his .38-caliber pistol back after his one-year probation period ends.
Maine state Rep. Frederick Wintle, a Republican, is banned from the state capitol after allegedly waving a loaded .22-caliber at a local newspaper photographer in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot. "I didn't know if he was going to shoot me or if it would accidentally go off," the photographer says.
2010: After being stopped outside of an abortion clinic with a loaded gun, Minnesota state Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R) is stripped of his leadership position. Hackbarth tells authorities that he did not realize he was outside an abortion clinic at the time, and was merely doing recon on a woman he had met on an internet dating site.
2001: Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R-Tenn.) is accused of dry-firing a handgun outside of his wife's bedroom during the couple's divorce proceedings.
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:
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.
West Virginia Del. Kelli Sobonyadrops 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.
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.
More butterfingered Granite State Republicans: State Rep. George Lambert drops his holstered gun outside the statehouse. State Rep. Paul Mirskidrops his firearm during a meeting and doesn't get around to picking it up until the event adjourns.
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.
An aide to Democratic Virginia Sen. James Webb is arrested for carrying his boss' loaded gun into a Senate office building.
Virginia Del. Jack Reidfires 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."
Things were looking up for Kansas Republican Senate candidate Milton Wolf two weeks ago, when the New York Timesreported that his opponent, incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, didn't have a residence in Kansas and had been couchsurfing on his friend's recliner on his rare visits to Dodge City. Not good! But since then, it's been all bad news for the tea party radiologist—and second cousin (once removed) of President Barack Obama. I reported on Wolf's history of over-the-top comments on his Twitter account and in his regular column at the Washington Times, where he compared his cousin to Hitler and Mussolini. Now the Topeka Capital-Journal has the contents of his since-discontinued Facebook page—where Wolf regularly posted gruesome x-rays of gunshot victims, often with dark attempts at humor appended:
Wolf and others viewing these Facebook postings relentlessly poked fun at the dead or wounded. The gunshot victim, Wolf joked online, wasn't going to complain about the awkward positioning of his head for an X-ray. In a separate Facebook comment, Wolf wrote that an X-ray of a man decapitated by gunfire resembled a wounded alien in a "Terminator" film and that the image offered evidence people "find beauty in different things."
Wolf declined in an interview with The Topeka Capital-Journal to clearly answer questions about whether he continued to place images of deceased people on the Internet. He asked to keep copies of the Facebook posts shown to him, but when denied, he walked away.
He's back. On Wednesday, less than three years after being released from federal prison, Louisiana Democrat Edwin Edwards told Bloomberg's Al Hunt he intends to run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is running for Senate. That roar you heard was the sound of political reporters packing their suitcases for extended stays in Baton Rouge. Other than the corruption charges that put him in the slammer, Edwards' four terms in the governor's mansion were defined by dramatic populist politics and brash public statements that drew constant comparisons to former Louisiana governor and senator Huey Long.
Prison hasn't seemed to change Edwards. Here are some of his best (or worst) hits:
On his 1983 opponent, then Republican Gov. David Treen: "He's so slow, it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes."
On whether he fears his phone was being tapped by law enforcement: "No—except by jealous husbands."
On his electoral prospects against Treen: "The only way I can lose this election is if I get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."
On similarities between he and his opponent, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke: "We're both wizards in the sheets."
On his fate: "The Chinese have a saying that if you sit by the river long enough, the dead body of your enemy will come floating down the river. I suppose the feds sat by the river long enough, and here comes my body."
On his womanizing, 1991: "Father Time has taken care of all that poppycock."
On his sex drive, 2012: "I don't need Viagra…Viagra needs me. Doesn't the Times-Picayune know they use my blood to make that stuff?"
On his new wife, Trina, who is 51 years his junior: "I learned something good to use Republicans for: sleep with them."
On whether it is fair to call him a womanizer: "I ride horses when I go to my ranch. That doesn't make me a cowboy."
On Trina (again): "I'm only as old as the woman I feel."
On the role of women in his administration: "The motto from here on out is up with skirts and down with pants."
On a claim he once slept with six women in one night: "No, it wasn't that way. [The author] was gone when the last one came in."
On his future—in 1991: "I don't have any skeletons in my closet. They're all out front. My closets have been raided so many times that there's nothing new, different, bad, or worse that can be said about me."
If Edwards does run, voters may be faced with a choice between Edwards, the convicted felon with a long, proud history of womanizing, and Tony Perkins, president of the social-conservative Family Research Council. Edwards hasn't formally filed paperwork yet, though. He told Bloomberg he wants to set up a super-PAC first.
Milton Wolf is a tea party Republican in Kansas challenging incumbent conservative GOP Sen. Pat Roberts because he believes Roberts is not sufficiently conservative. He has equated President Barack Obama's treatment of successful Americans to Hitler's treatment of Jews and gypsies. He has compared Obama to a "less despotic" Benito Mussolini. The catch: Milton Wolf is Obama's cousin.
In interviews with Fox News and other conservative outlets, Wolf insists he has the utmost respect for the president, with whom he shares a male ancestor, Thomas Creekmore McCurry—Obama's great-great-grandfather and Wolf’s great-grandfather. Although Wolf has only met the president once, he told Fox News three years ago his family is proud of what "Barack" has accomplished and wants to see him succeed. But more recent comments reveal a rhetorical extremism and rigid ideological opposition that would be at home within the most excessive circles of the far right.