(ReliableNews.org) – After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the federal government formed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The agency is tasked with keeping air and land travel safe in the United States. One of the most critical jobs of its agents is to find weapons on travelers. They failed to do that in Portland, Washington, recently, and a lawmaker found out the hard way why it’s so important to check luggage before traveling.
On Saturday, October 21, Washington State Senator Jeff Wilson (R) boarded a flight in Portland to begin a five-week vacation in Southeast Asia. He connected to a flight in San Francisco but didn’t have to go through additional screening. His first stop was in Hong Kong. However, during the flight, he reached into his carry-on for a piece of gum when he realized he had his gun.
As soon as the senator landed at the Hong Kong International Airport, he told customs about the situation. Authorities in the semi-autonomous Chinese city arrested the state senator for being in possession of an unregistered gun.
The senator was in court on October 23 and was released on bond. The Shatin Magistrates’ Courts ordered the American to surrender his passport and he has another court date on October 30 in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. According to The Associated Press, Wilson said he made “an honest mistake” and believes it will be “resolved shortly.”
Hong Kong has strict firearms laws. Carrying an unlicensed gun could land someone in prison for 14 years. However, the average length of a prison sentence is usually about two years. They’re also subject to fines of up to $12,000.
TSA has now opened a probe into the incident to see how the gun was missed at the Portland airport. A spokesperson for the agency said they are taking the “situation very seriously and [are] currently investigating the circumstances.”
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