“Whoops” would be putting it lightly.
A Republican New Hampshire state lawmaker dropped her loaded gun on the floor right in front of children at a Thursday afternoon hearing.
The legislator, State Rep. Carolyn Halstead, was rushing to get to her place in a House Education Committee meeting about the merits of full day kindergarten when she dropped her loaded firearm. The gun did not go off.
Halstead says that the gun got caught by her backpack as she pulled it off, and it was thus yanked from her waistband onto the floor. She says that after the gun fell to the floor she “quickly picked it up and put it in her bag.”
What is probably most disturbing about this incident, besides the basic fact that a loaded gun was inadvertently swung around a state capitol building, is that children were present. Townhall reports that “witnesses said several children were seated nearby but the hearing carried on with little disturbance.”
Just because the hearing “carried on with little disturbance” doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story, however.
The Republican speaker of the state house, for one, had harsh words for Halstead.
Speaker Shawn Jasper commented of the incident with Halstead’s gun, “I have impressed upon her that, while no harm came from this incident, her lack of control is unacceptable.”
Holstead, for her part, said that she was “mortified” by the gun dropping incident, adding that “multiple safety features” were allegedly set so that it would have been impossible for the fumbled firearm to have gone off. She added, “I’m still unnerved. I don’t want people to be afraid.”
Well it’s definitely a little too late for that. Just because Holstead is sorry doesn’t make everything all fine and dandy.
That loaded gun being dropped is a serious incident, as New Hampshire state House speaker Jasper made so abundantly clear to Holstead.
In just the first twelve days of 2017 an estimated 22 children aged 11 and under were killed or injured by a firearm in the United States. During that same time period, according to the Gun Violence Archive, 72 young people aged 12 through 17 were killed or injured by a firearm.
There have been approximately 481 deaths overall from gun violence in the U.S. since January 1, 2017.
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports that, between 2005 and 2010, over 1,300 people under the age of 25 died from unintentional gun violence alone, in incidents like, oh, a loaded gun being dropped on the floor in front of children.
Ironically, this incident with Holstead isn’t the first time that a loaded gun has caused a problem at the New Hampshire state capitol.
In 2012, then-State Rep. Kyle Tasker dropped a loaded gun on the floor of a hearing about an abortion bill that was, at the time, pending in the legislature.
‘A [N.H.] Senate committee this week approved legislation that would remove the licensing requirement for carrying hidden guns. Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, is likely to sign it if it reaches his desk.’
Featured Image via Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images.