A Delaware state senator is facing felony charges after bringing a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag at the Salisbury Regional Airport in Maryland Thursday, according to The News Journal.
Sen. Brian Pettyjohn was traveling to the Southern Regional Education Board conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, when Transportation Security Administration agents discovered a 9mm handgun in his luggage.
Pettyjohn said he had accidentally left it inside a laptop case.
“It’s just one of those things where I didn’t check that one little flap, and there it was,” Pettyjohn said to The News Journal. “Sometimes mistakes happen, whether you’re a legislator or not.”
Pettyjohn reportedly has a license for a concealed weapon in Delaware, but not in Maryland, The News Journal reported.
Pettyjohn was released without being arrested after authorities interviewed him. The felony charges against Pettyjohn can carry a 10-year prison sentence, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office said.
“Personal protection of myself and my family is of the utmost importance,” Pettyjohn told The News Journal.
“Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and we’ll try to find out what they’re after here,” said Bruce Rodgers, Pettyjohn’s attorney. “There is certainly nothing which rises to the level of a felony carrying a firearm to an airplane,” Rodgers said.