Senator detained at airport for having loaded gun

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A state senator was detained by the TSA on Thursday after trying to board a plane with a loaded handgun at Salisbury Regional Airport in Maryland. Delaware State Senator Brian Pettyjohn (R) now faces a felony charge for the incident.

Pettyjohn was detained after Transportation Security Administration agents found the loaded weapon in his carry-on bag. Pettyjohn said he’d forgotten that he left the gun in his laptop case.

Pettyjohn said he’d been in the habit of  carrying a concealed weapon following the shooting of Republican Steve Scalise last week in Virginia.

“I was escorted to the on-airport office of the Wicomico County sheriff’s office where I was briefly questioned about what was found,” he writes. “Upon giving my statement and a computer check of both my record and my handgun, I was released to reschedule my flight.” Pettyjohn was headed to New Orleans, Louisiana.

On Friday, the  sheriff’s office announced the felony charge against the senator for having a firearm on an aircraft.  If found guilty Pettyjohn could face a jail sentence of 10-years.

In addition, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says individuals who bring firearms to a checkpoint can face civil penalties of up to $12,000, although TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said, “Typically a first offense for bringing a firearm to a checkpoint is $3,000.” No word on whether Pettyjohn will be fined.

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