NH Lawmaker Drops Loaded Gun at Hearing

A New Hampshire lawmaker couldn't believe it — there she was in a packed education hearing, and her loaded .380 revolver was on the ground.

"Panicked, like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe this just happened,'" State Rep. Carolyn Halstead said Friday.

The representative says she was running late for the hearing, so threw both straps of her backpack on as she raced there.

"The backpack must have gotten caught on it, I pulled off the backpack, it popped off from the belt," she said.

Halstead said she immediately secured her gun, the whole incident lasting just seconds.

"My first response was to 're-secure' because I don't like anyone to know I'm carrying, and now everybody knows that I carry," Halstead said with a small laugh.

In New Hampshire, it is legal to carry a loaded firearm into the State House.

After the hearing, House Speaker Shawn Jasper reacted.

"I have impressed upon her that, while no harm came from this incident, her lack of control is unacceptable," Jasper said in a statement.

Halstead, who says she has a concealed carry permit in 35 states, says she plans to continue bringing her gun to the Capitol.

In Concord Friday, there was mixed reaction.

"I wasn't surprised, we are in New Hampshire," Mike Bolduc said.

"I think we should do it safely and responsibly, but I think we should have that right," Tim Toutain added. "She should have been more careful, you know, making sure the weapon was secure, not going to fall out."

"I was horrified, it is not, it is so contra-indicated, go to a meeting like that and have a gun in your pocket," Belinda Phillips said. "I don't care if it falls out or not, it is just scary."

Rep. Halstead says she learned her lesson.

"I'm not going to wear the backpack with that holster," she said. "I have to find a different holster."

Contact Us