Police: Gun brought by lawmaker to Denver airport was loaded

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado state lawmaker arrested for having a gun at Denver International Airport had a loaded handgun in her bag that was discovered by an airport security officer, police said Wednesday.

State Rep. Lori Saine "knowingly brought the handgun to the checkpoint" at the airport on Tuesday, according to a police report written by Denver Police Officer Gregory Zimmerman. The report did not explain how Zimmerman made that determination.

Saine, a Republican who has advocated for gun rights, was arrested on suspicion of introducing a firearm into a transportation facility and scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.

A Transportation Security Administration agent saw the Kahr Arms 9mm semi-automatic handgun when a bag belonging to Saine went through an x-ray machine, according to the arrest report. It had four rounds in its magazine but none in the chamber.

The arrest report said Saine requested a lawyer before being taken to jail from the airport but it was not immediately clear if she had one.

She spent the night in jail and could not be reached for comment.

Saine was elected in 2012 and represents a largely rural, agricultural area about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Denver that's seen intense oil and gas activity as well as budding residential development.

Saine in 2017 co-sponsored bill to repeal a ban on the sale, transfer and possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. The ban was enacted after the 2012 Aurora theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

State law prohibits people from carrying guns — either concealed or openly — at transportation facilities, including the airport, said airport spokesman Heath Montgomery.

He said passengers who want to travel with firearms can put unloaded weapons inside secure cases in checked luggage and must declare them to airlines.

Denver's airport ranked fifth highest for firearms discovered in carry-on bags in the United States last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration.


Associated Press writer James Anderson in Denver contributed to this report.