SACRAMENTO (AP) — A state lawmaker has been charged with two misdemeanors for trying to bring a loaded handgun onto a flight to the state capital last month, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office said Friday.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was charged with illegally carrying a loaded firearm and possessing a prohibited item in a secure area of Ontario International Airport.
Donnelly, an outspoken advocate for gun-owners' rights, was detained after a Colt .45 with four rounds was discovered inside his carry-on bag on Jan. 4. Another magazine with five rounds was in Donnelly's carry-on bag at the airport, which is 35 miles east of Los Angeles.
The Republican from Twin Peaks, a small community in the San Bernardino Mountains, said he left the gun in his briefcase inadvertently and had no intention of bringing it to Sacramento.
"Several weeks ago, I made an innocent mistake for which I have taken responsibility," Donnelly, 45, said in a statement. "I have fully cooperated with law enforcement officials and have been candid about this matter publicly."
The second misdemeanor alleged that Donnelly "knowingly" possessed the handgun at the airport. The first alleged that he unlawfully carried a loaded gun in a public place, an acknowledgment that Donnelly does not possess a permit to carry a concealed firearm.
The district attorney's office wouldn't comment on the charges.
He could face a $1,000 fine and up to a year in county jail on the first charge, and a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail on the second charge if he is convicted.
Donnelly has said he brought the weapon to his garage while he was home alone because he had received death threats over his opposition to illegal immigration. He said he hid it in his briefcase so his wife would not be alarmed when she came home, then forgot it was there.