Lawmaker accused of showing gun in restricted area of Capitol

Rep. Shae Sortwell

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker allegedly displayed his holstered gun in a Democratic legislator’s Wisconsin Capitol office earlier this year.

Democratic Rep. Sheila Stubbs’ aide, Savion Castro, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Republican Rep. Shae Sortwell came into Stubbs’ Capitol office in late February or early March and that he and Sortwell discussed a bill that would help barbers get licensed. Castro said that when they were done, Sortwell told him that he thought Stubbs’ sign banning guns from her office was silly and that people should stop being afraid of guns and should support the Second Amendment.

Sortwell then pulled back his sport coat to reveal a handgun on his hip, the aide said. Castro said he asked Sortwell to leave, and he complied.

Firearms are allowed in the Capitol but officials can ban them from their offices. Stubbs, who represents portions of Madison, told the newspaper that Sortwell should apologize to Castro.

“I was shocked I would have a colleague in this Capitol intentionally demonstrate behavior that is just unacceptable — should be unacceptable — to anyone in this Capitol,” Stubbs said of the incident.

Legislative leaders learned of the incident and told Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller to talk to Sortwell, said Kit Beyer, a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Sortwell, of Two Rivers, repeatedly declined to give the newspaper his version of events, telling a reporter “you take whatever story (Castro) wants to put out there that may or may not be true and you go with it.”