An American state senator was detained at a Chinese airport because he had a gun in his carry-on luggage. The legislator claims he packed the weapon by accident and gave it to authorities as soon as he could because it was properly registered in the United States. The incident is currently being looked into by the Transportation Security Administration of the United States.
Republican State Senator Jeff Wilson of Washington was arrested in Hong Kong on October 20 for illegally carrying a firearm in an unloaded state. While the legislator was free to carry the firearm in the United States, it was against the law in China since it had not been registered there.
Wilson claims he forgot he had the gun on the plane and only found out when he went looking for gum in the middle of the flight. The gun was traced to Portland International Airport, where the Washington senator went through security. The international flight was not detected since he changed planes in San Francisco and didn’t have to go through a second security checkpoint on the way to Hong Kong. According to NBC News, the senator denies accusations that Chinese officials discovered the pistol during a bag check and instead claims that he notified customs officials as soon as the plane landed.
According to The Standard, a Hong Kong newspaper, Wilson posted bail in the amount of HK$20,000 (about $2557 USD). He was also required to turn in his passport and stay in Hong Kong until his October 30 hearing.
After spending some time in China, Wilson and his wife were going to go to Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand over the course of five weeks. Even though he wasn’t officially on business, the senator, who is also a port commissioner for Longview, was scheduled to visit the Shanghai port.
People breaking travel regulations while armed is nothing new, but it has become a major problem in recent years, according to the Seattle Times.