Brian Pettyjohn attempted to bring a loaded gun on a commercial aircraft.
Delaware State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) has been charged by the Wicomico County, Maryland Sheriff’s Office with attempting to bring a firearm on a commercial aircraft.
"It's just one of those things where I didn't check that one little flap, and there it was," Pettyjohn told The News Journal. "Sometimes mistakes happen, whether you're a legislator or not."
The 43-year-old senator was attempting to fly out of the Salisbury Regional Airport in Salisbury, Maryland to a conference in Louisiana on Thursday, June 22. Around 8:10 a.m., a Transportation Security Administration officer found a loaded handgun in Pettyjohn’s carry-on bag. He was detained and the handgun seized, but eventually able to continue on to Louisiana.
Sussex Living was unable to find any other reports of individuals attempting to bring a firearm on a commercial aircraft in Maryland that did not result in an arrest.
The WCSO deputy assigned to the case presented an application for charges to the District Court Commissioner, who issued a criminal summons. As of 3 p.m. Monday, June 26, Pettyjohn had not yet been issued that summons, according to both WCSO Lt. Tim Robinson and Pettyjohn’s attorney, Bruce Rogers. Pettyjohn is due back in Delaware today, Monday, June 26.
Maryland does not honor Delaware concealed carry licenses; Louisiana does. Robinson said Pettyjohn was not charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon because it is a lesser crime than attempting to bring a firearm on a commercial aircraft, which is a felony and punishable by up to ten years in prison.
TSA Press Secretary Lisa Farbstein said that individuals that bring firearms to an airport security checkpoint are subject to civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000. Typically, she said, a first offense for bringing a firearm to a checkpoint incurs a $3,000 fine.
According to Farbstein, airline passengers can travel with a firearm, but only in a checked bag, never a carry-on, and only after following proper procedure.