Why Politicians Shouldn’t Pack Heat, a Continuing Series

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-177423833/stock-vector-cowboy-with-guns-vector-flat-design-style-background.html?src=csl_recent_image-1">Tancha</a>/Shutterstock


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 tells Politico.

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.

h/t @litzz11

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight 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

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.