Senator Brings Gun To China Airport, Gets Arrested

( – A U.S. state senator has been arrested and detained in Hong Kong after bringing a gun in his carry-on luggage.

Jeff Wilson, a Republican state senator for Washington, said he discovered that he had left a firearm in his carry-on luggage and brought in on his flight to the Chinese territory by accident. He was already mid-flight when he discovered the firearm, which was unloaded. His carry-on luggage passed TSA inspection at the Portland International Airport prior to departure from the U.S.

Wilson said he made an “honest mistake” and immediately surrendered himself to local customs officials in Hong Kong as soon as the flight landed. He was arrested and detained under the charge of possessing a locally unregistered firearm, which carries a hefty maximum jail sentence of 14 years and a fine amounting to HK$100,000 or $12,000. The senator is scheduled to have a hearing at the end of the month.

Wilson’s office said that the senator “expects the situation to be resolved shortly.” Wilson’s firearm is legally registered in Washington and the senator also has a concealed carry permit.

Wilson was on a five-week personal trip with his wife to different countries in Southeast Asia. He was granted bail by a local magistrate, but he was required to surrender all his travel documents to local authorities. The senator is also barred from leaving the city.

For its part, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said that it was aware of the incident involving Wilson, and that it was “currently investigating the circumstances” surrounding a passenger who passed inspection despite possessing an “unloaded firearm in his carry-on bag.” Passengers who are caught with firearms during an inspection can face fines up to $15,000.

John Braun, Wilson’s colleague in the Washington senate and party leader, said that they were also aware of the incident and hopes that the matter will be resolved in a “timely manner.”

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