Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was cited for having a loaded .45-caliber handgun in his carry-on bag at the Ontario airport according to the numerous reports last week. He was not arrested.
The Sacramento Bee said ” The Twin Peaks Republican was stopped at a security checkpoint early Wednesday morning, detained, and cited by airport police, said Nico Melendez, spokesman for the federal Transportation Security Administration. Donnelly’s carry-on bag housed a .45-caliber Colt Mark IV that had four rounds in its magazine and a spare magazine with five additional rounds, Melendez said. Lawmakers were returning to the Capitol today for the 2012 legislative year. “When he was packing to leave, he had forgotten that it was in there,” said Cassandra Joiner, Donnelly’s spokeswoman. “He didn’t realize it when he put it through the metal detector.” Donnelly – a supporter of gun ownership – was scheduled to board Southwest Airlines Flight 661, Melendez said. Passengers were to be transported from Ontario to Sacramento. The incident sparked confusion because Donnelly’s initial citation specified that the gun was unloaded. Ontario airport police later released a revised statement saying that the charge will be possession of a loaded firearm. “It was an error on the officer’s part,” Sgt. Belinda Nettles, spokeswoman for airport police, said of the need to rewrite Donnelly’s citation. She declined to discuss how the error occurred. Possession of a loaded firearm is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, Nettles said. Donnelly’s weapon was confiscated by the Ontario Police Department. He will appear in court at a future date, she said. Airline passengers legally can transport firearms via airline flights, but they must be unloaded and contained in a proper carrying case that is checked into the baggage department, not as a carry-on, Melendez said. Donnelly would not be alone in forgetting that his carry-on bag contained a firearm – 1,200 such incidents occurred nationwide last year, Melendez said. Robin Swanson, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, urged against rushing to judgment in Donnelly’s case. “He deserves due process just like anyone else,” Swanson said. “We support public safety. (Officials) will get to the bottom of it
We received this email from Cassandra Joiner at Assemblyman Donnelly’s Office last Wednesday evening.
“This morning I went to Ontario International Airport to board a plane to return to Sacramento. When I arrived at the security check point, an X-Ray machine revealed that I had forgotten to remove a firearm from my carry-on luggage.”
“At that time, I was questioned by airport police and cited. I was released as soon as it was determined that I was not a threat. I boarded the next flight without incident. I apologize for any inconvenience my mistake caused”
Donnelly allegedly said he was carrying the weapon due to death threats he has received, but had forgotten that he had a loaded gun in his briefcase. According to HuffPost, “He said he had it close by because of death threats he has received since he began spearheading a petition drive for a referendum to overturn a recent state law that allows illegal immigrant college students to apply for public financial aid. He told reporters at the state Capitol that he placed the gun in the briefcase to hide it from his wife. “I didn’t want her to see that I had my firearm out because we have received death threats with what I’ve been working on,” he said. “So I do tend to always be armed. The issue is strictly one that I completely forgot, coming back to work this morning, that it was in that briefcase.””
Donnelly does not have a San Bernardino County permit to carry a concealed weapon. “Donnelly does not have a permit from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to carry a concealed weapon. Beacon Media’s calls and emails to San Bernardino’s DA were not immediately returned.
Lawmakers who report death threats can obtain additional security, but Donnelly had not reported any to Assembly officials, said Robin Swanson, a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.
On his website Donnelly continues his efforts to repeal the Dream Act.
“Despite an incredible effort by so many of you and tens of thousands of volunteer circulators working alongside paid petition-gatherers, I regret to inform you that we fell short. 504,760 valid signatures were needed to qualify the referendum for the November 2012 ballot. Although we put in a herculean effort the count as of late last night was 447,514 signatures, which precludes us from submitting the signatures today to the registrar of voters at each of the 58 counties.
This is disappointing news, but it is no less of a warning to Governor Brown, and every Democrat legislator who voted to create a new entitlement program for illegals while the state still has a budget deficit over $9 billion, and cannot even meet it’s obligation to legal California students.
Thank you for joining us in this historic effort as Californians of every age, race, religion, income and political party came together to fight to restore sanity to the Golden State. We may have failed in this first battle, but we will not give up in the war to save California from the reckless politicians who want to raise our taxes to put the college dreams of illegals ahead of our own children.
Your efforts have not been in vain. We have alerted our fellow citizens to this fiscal nightmare. Today only marks the end of one battle in a war to reclaim our voice in our legislature.This one loss will not dampen our resolve.
It is an honor fighting alongside you in this great cause.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly