Two handguns were stolen overnight Thursday from a vehicle parked just outside of the Colorado Capitol belonging to a Republican who will be sworn into office Monday as a state representative.
State Rep.-elect Ron Weinberg, of Loveland, said both guns were unloaded and secured with trigger locks, which prevent the firearms from firing until they are removed. Weinberg said he always has trigger locks on his guns and unloads them when they aren’t in use because he is the father of young children.
Weinberg said he reported the pistols as stolen as soon as he realized they had been taken and provided the weapons’ serial numbers to authorities. He said he is cooperating with Denver police and the Colorado State Patrol as they investigate the theft.
“I’m assisting in any way possible,” he said. “I’m working with the Denver Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol to make sure they can bring this to justice.”
Weinberg said “it would haunt me for the rest of my life” if the guns were used for wrongdoing.
The Denver Police Department says it was notified of the theft at 9 a.m. Friday and is investigating.
“The victim reported two firearms were taken from the vehicle,” police said in a written statement. “No further updates are available.”
Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call police.
Weinberg said it’s unclear if he left his vehicle unlocked or whether the person or people who stole his guns used a device, such as a “bump” key, to get into the truck.
The guns were taken sometime between 10:30 p.m Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday.
Incoming House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Dillon Democrat, said the theft is an example of why Colorado needs laws around responsible gun ownership.
“This is an extremely serious incident, and we are deeply concerned that Rep.-elect Weinberg’s irresponsible actions have allowed dangerous weapons into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” she said. “This is exactly why we have pursued legislation to promote responsible gun ownership, and why we will introduce life-saving measures this session to reduce gun violence and improve safety in our communities.”
Colorado’s 2023 legislative session begins Monday.
Weinberg was selected in November by a vacancy committee to serve the two-year term of the late House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, a 55-year-old Loveland Republican who died from a heart attack days before the 2022 election.
Last year, state Rep. Richard Holtorf, R-Akron, accidentally dropped a handgun inside the Capitol while hurrying into the House chambers. The weapon didn’t discharge.
In 2014, then-state Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita, left a loaded handgun in a committee room.
In 2017, then-state Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, was arrested at Denver International Airport after she carried a handgun into a security checkpoint. Saine was not charged after prosecutors said it appeared Saine forgot the weapon was in her purse.
CORRECTION: This story was updated at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2022, to correct where then-state Rep. Jared Wright lived when he was a state representative. He lived in Fruita.