Sen. Pettyjohn’s court date on gun charge set for July 25

DOVER — State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, facing a felony charge of bringing a gun to an airport, has a preliminary court hearing set for July 25 in Wicomico County, Maryland, District Court.

Sen. Pettyjohn, a Georgetown Republican, was detained June 22 after a loaded handgun was found in his carry-on bag at the Salisbury Regional Airport in Maryland. The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office announced the next day a charge for having a firearm on an aircraft. The offense could bring up to 10 years in jail.

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Brian Pettyjohn

“I inadvertently left my weapon in a laptop bag as I was headed to the airport to attend the Southern Regional Education Board conference that is being held this weekend in New Orleans,” Sen. Pettyjohn, 43, said in a statement at the time. “Upon my bag being checked by (Transportation Security Administration agents), the handgun was detected. I was escorted to the on-airport office of the Wicomico County sheriff’s office where I was briefly questioned about what was found. Upon giving my statement and a computer check of both my record and my handgun, I was released to reschedule my flight.”

Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride, a Wilmington Manor Democrat, said he will see what happens with the case before determining whether to convene the seldom-used Senate Ethics Committee, which handles internal discipline for lawmakers.

“I’ve given it some thought, and my thinking is that first and foremost we’d want to wait until there’s some type of decision on what the outcome is,” Sen. McBride said, referring to the incident as an “innocent mistake.”

Sen. Pettyjohn could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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