State Senator Arrested in Hong Kong

( – In the United States, most Americans have the right to own and possess firearms. However, that right only extends to them while they are in their own country. A Washington state senator was recently arrested when he traveled internationally with a gun.

On October 20, authorities in Hong Kong arrested Washington state Senator Jeff Wilson (R). The lawmaker departed from Portland International Airport with a revolver in his carry-on bag. He made it through airport security in the US.

According to The Seattle Times, Wilson said he found the gun in his bag when he reached into it midflight to get some gum. He alerted customs authorities about the situation when he landed in Hong Kong, and was taken into custody. His spokesperson, Erik Smith, said the lawmaker posted bail, which was set at HK$20,000 ($2,555.98 USD). Wilson had to turn over his passport and the weapon. He must remain in Hong Kong until October 30 for his next hearing.

Wilson went to Hong Kong as part of a five-week vacation in Asia. The lawmaker was not there in his official capacity. He was taking a personal vacation and paying for it with his own money.

The fact that a gun was able to make it through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint in Portland is another issue entirely. Agents are supposed to be able to identify firearms. The weapons are not permitted in the secure areas of airports.

A spokesperson for TSA released a statement saying the agency is taking the “situation very seriously” and has launched an investigation into what happened. The statement continued, saying agents across the country were “catching firearms at checkpoints” and anyone found with one in their possession in an unauthorized area “represents an expensive mistake.” A person who is caught with a gun in one of those areas could face a fine of up to $15,000.

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