SACRAMENTO (AP) — A state lawmaker pleaded no contest Monday to carrying a loaded handgun in his briefcase as he tried to board a flight to Sacramento earlier this year.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was fined $2,215 for the two misdemeanor charges: illegally carrying a loaded firearm and possessing a prohibited item in a secure area of Ontario International Airport, said Christopher Lee, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office.
Donnelly was immediately placed on court probation for three years. He will be booked and released without serving any jail time. The charges could have brought up to a year in jail on one count and up to six months on the other.
The Colt .45 and the ammunition he had with him on Jan. 4 will be destroyed.
Donnelly, a Republican who has spoken in favor of gun-owner's rights, has said he unintentionally had the weapon in his briefcase as he traveled to the state Capitol from his home in Twin Peaks, a small community in the San Bernardino Mountains.
"It's a fair resolution to this," said Donnelly's attorney, Rod Pacheco. "He's been working to represent his constituents and now he won't be distracted from that. That's really important to him."
Donnelly previously said he had the weapon in his garage while he was home alone because he was worried about death threats he had received 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.
His office did not immediately respond to repeated requests for comment and Donnelly did not return a message left on his cellphone.