Charges Possible For Woman Who Left Loaded Gun In Aquarium Bathroom
DRAPER, Utah – The case involving a woman who left a loaded gun in a restroom at the Living Planet Aquarium in Draper will be forwarded to prosecutors to see if criminal charges should be filed.
Originally, officials from the Draper Police Department said it would be returning the weapon to its owner and close the case without pursuing charges.
“After further review of the facts of this case, we reached out the to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office to review this incident,” investigators from police department said in a statement. “We will be presenting this information to the District Attorney’s Office who will decide if there is enough evidence to support a criminal charge.”
Around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a customer found the handgun inside the women’s bathroom and alerted authorities. Later that evening, police heard from the owner of the gun who said she had seen a news report about the incident.
“The lady who had left the gun found out about it and called us,” said Sgt. Scott Adams. “She was extremely apologetic, extremely upset and embarrassed about what she had done.”
The loaded pistol, which was in a holster, was sitting on the top of a folded-up diaper changing table. Sgt. Adams said the owner told police she “got distracted” and forgot to pick up her gun when leaving the bathroom.
Detectives said they’d need a few more days to finish their report before sending it to prosecutors who will then make the final decision about whether the woman will be charged with a crime. Sgt. Adams said the only crime investigators think could apply to the case would be reckless endangerment.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said without seeing the police report he could not comment on whether charges are likely. In general, he said there was cause for concern.
“I think what is probably more troubling here is that this is a public place with children that are there,” Gill said. “There is a certain forgetfulness and certain recklessness in not knowing where your weapon is.”
Even though the aquarium has signs stating no guns are allowed, Utah law still allows concealed firearm permit holders to bring guns onto the property, Gill said, so it was not a violation of law to have the gun there. However, it’s up to the business owners to enforce their rules.
“It’s not about an issue whether you can carry the weapon. Now, what are you doing with that weapon? Is it endangering other people with your conduct or not?” Gill said. “I think there’s a sense of personal responsibility that everybody has to exercise if you’re going to have the privilege to carry that weapon.”
Sgt. Adams said the situation was a good reminder to gun owners.
“That’s the responsibility that you take on as a concealed carry permit holder is to make sure you’re keeping those firearms secure at all times,” he said.