A Kentucky lawmaker said Wednesday that she accidentally fired a gun in her Capitol Annex office on the first day of the legislative session, prompting a state police investigation. No one was hurt.
Democratic Rep. Leslie Combs of Pikeville issued a statement saying the shot was fired unintentionally and that state police assigned to the Capitol found no evidence to indicate any portion of the discharged round left her office.
Combs did not offer details, but a House colleague who said he was in her office at the time described it as an accident.
“She was emptying the weapon and she thought that it was empty and pointed it away and down and pulled the trigger and it went off,” said Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg. “Thankfully, no one was hurt. I know she feels terrible about it. … It’s just an unfortunate event.”
Greer said he had stopped by Combs’ office to talk about legislation. The two lawmakers were the only ones in her office when the shot was fired, he said.
Combs’ statement said she obtained a concealed-carry permit several years ago for safety reasons, and noted that she does considerable traveling, sometimes at night. She was present in the House chamber Wednesday, but did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
State law allows Combs and other lawmakers to have weapons in their offices and to even bring them into the chamber if they wish, said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
Stumbo said “a number” of legislators have concealed-carry permits, but he said he doesn’t know how many carry weapons at the Capitol. He said Combs does not face any charges.
“Leslie, I know, is very concerned and probably somewhat embarrassed by the situation,” Stumbo said.
Kentucky has a strong heritage of gun-ownership rights that is embraced by the Legislature.
Combs said in her statement that she is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and the state’s concealed-carry law. She also advocated gun safety programs as “part of that equation.”
“I urge everyone to be extremely cautious with their firearm,” she said. “I know from personal experience how easy it is to discharge a firearm accidentally.”