House Speaker J.D. Mesnard removed a gun from Representative Don Shooter's office before a vote on a resolution to expel Shooter from the State House.
A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety confirmed to Phoenix New Times that an officer accompanied Mesnard to Shooter's office at the Legislature this morning while the Speaker retrieved Shooter's handgun. 3TV/CBS-5 first reported the incident.
"This morning prior to the House floor session, the DPS Sergeant assigned to the House accompanied the Speaker to Representative Don Shooter’s office. While there, Mr. Shooter voluntarily surrendered a small .22-caliber handgun and a display gun for safe keeping," Bart Graves wrote in an email.
In a televised interview after the session, Mesnard explained that some people had expressed concerns about safety "in the height of the emotions" of the debate over whether to expel Shooter, who had been accused of pervasive sexual harassment in the weeks and months prior.
"I did go into his office to remove his weapons," Mesnard told the cameras. "I don’t consider Mr. Shooter a threat, I never did. But out of an abundance of caution, and making sure that everyone else was comfortable, I asked for it, he gave it up — no fight or anything like that."
Shortly after Mesnard retrieved his gun, the State House voted 56-3 to remove Shooter from office this afternoon. He's now the first sexual harasser to be expelled from a state legislature as a result of the national dialogue over sexual harassment and workplace misconduct.
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