Washington state senator Jeff Wilson was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport for having a firearm in his carry-on luggage.
What happened: Wilson, who was traveling with his wife for vacation in Southeast Asia, claimed that he did not know his pistol was in his briefcase when he passed through airport security in Portland, Oregon. He said he discovered the firearm mid-flight when he reached into his briefcase for gum. When the plane landed in Hong Kong from San Francisco, he immediately notified customs officials.
“It was an honest mistake, and I expect the situation to be resolved shortly,” Wilson said in a statement.
Arrest and charges: Wilson was arrested by custom officials on Friday and was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Hong Kong dollars ($12,800).
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Wilson was released on Sunday after posting bail. The senator is scheduled for a hearing on Oct. 30.
TSA Investigation: The Transportation Security Administration confirmed that Wilson had passed through security in the U.S. with the firearm, and they are investigating the circumstances.
“[The TSA] takes this situation very seriously and is currently investigating the circumstances,” a spokesperson said, according to ABC News.
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The TSA noted that they have been confiscating firearms in carry-on luggage at record rates in recent years, with an average of 20 guns found per day. According to the agency, being caught with firearms at checkpoints may be fined up to $15,000.
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