Pettyjohn facing felony charge for bringing gun to airport

DOVER — State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn is facing a felony charge for accidentally bringing a gun into an airport.

Sen. Pettyjohn, a Georgetown Republican, was detained Thursday morning after a loaded handgun was found in his carry-on bag at the Salisbury Regional Airport in Maryland. Charges were announced Friday by the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.

The offense, firearm on an aircraft, is a felony that carries up to 10 years in jail.

Sen. Pettyjohn said in a statement Thursday he has been “carrying a concealed weapon regularly” after a June 14 shooting in Alexandria, Va., wounded several people, including U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.

In the statement, Sen. Pettyjohn said he accidentally left the firearm in a laptop bag. He was at the airport to fly to the Southern Regional Education Board conference in New Orleans.

The gun was found by Transportation Security Administration agents around 8:10, and the senator was questioned at the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office’s airport location. He was then released and was not arrested at the time.

Sen. Pettyjohn, 43, was first elected to the state Senate in 2012. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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