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Report: Capitol Police left guns unattended three times in 2015

U.S. Capitol Police officers have left loaded guns unattended and unsecured at least three times since the beginning of the year, according to a report published Friday by the Washington, D.C.-based newspaper Roll Call.

Most recently, on April 16, a janitor cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters discovered a loaded firearm that had been left in plain view, according to a police report obtained by the publication.

In a March 24 incident, a child discovered a loaded handgun in the bathroom of House Speaker John Boehner’s suite in the Capitol building.

On Jan. 29, a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security team left his Glock handgun and ammunition clip wedged in the toilet seat cover dispenser of a bathroom stall in the Senate office space portion of the Capitol Visitor Center. The weapon was later discovered by a CVC employee.

The Capitol Police’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended six days of unpaid suspension for the officer from McConnell’s security detail. The other two incidents are still under investigation.

The revelations have prompted some lawmakers to call on the Capitol Police to reevaluate their training and security protocols.

House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, told Roll Call that he wants Capitol Police to “retrain everyone that carries a gun.”

“The fact that dangerous weapons were left in the open, potentially within reach of the general public, is unacceptable,” Committee on House Administration Chairwoman Candice Miller and Ranking Member Robert Brady said in a joint statement.

“We will be looking for a full briefing on these incidents, how they happened, what corrective action has been taken, and how we hopefully do not have similar instances in the future,” the pair said.

The Committee on House Administration monitors the Capitol Police, an agency whose duties range from protecting legislators to enforcing traffic regulations around the Capitol building.

Reports of the misplaced weapons come at a moment of flux for department’s leadership.

On April 10, sources close to Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine told reporters that Dine had handed in a letter of resignation following morale problems in the department and questions about Dine’s handling of several high-profile incidents. In mid-April, Assistant Chief Daniel B. Malloy also announced his retirement, which took effect April 30.

Reports of the misplaced guns come on the heels of a series of security incidents on Capitol Hill, including an April 11 suicide on the west front of the Capitol building and criticism of the Capitol Police’s conduct in allowing a gyrocopter to land on the Capitol lawn.

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