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Thu, Apr 22, 2004

Congressman Detained At Airport

Hostettler Had A Gun

When most mortals try to walk through an airport security checkpoint with a loaded gun in our satchels, we can expect to be detained, closely searched, arrested and tried.

But John Hostettler is no mere mortal. He's a Republican congressman from Indiana. As such, he was briefly detained at Louisville International Airport on Tuesday, then allowed to continue on his way.

"Apparently the congressman had left a handgun in his briefcase and forgot it was in there and took it to the security checkpoint, where it was detected, and they detained him briefly to make sure he had no ill intent," said the congressman's news secretary, Michael Jahr.

An airport spokesman said Hostettler was trying to board a US Airways flight at the airport when the buzzers went off. Louisville International's Rande Swann said Hostettler was briefly detained, then given a citation by airport police on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

Then he was released.

If convicted on the charge, Hostettler would face a year in jail and a $500 fine. He's scheduled to make his first court appearance May 4th.

"Basically he violated Kentucky law that says it's a misdemeanor to bring a gun into a security area in a Kentucky airport," said Jahr.

Jahr said Hostettler has a concealed handgun permit in his home state of Indiana and that Kentucky recognizes such permits.

As politicians are wont to do, Terry Burns, the communications director for the Indiana Democratic Party said he now wonders about Hostettler's judgement.

"I mean why is a congressman packing a weapon on an airplane, especially in this day and age? I think it's kind of a disturbing development," he said.

State Republicans, however, said Hostettler is a registered gun owner and had no ill intent when he walked through the security checkpoint.

FMI: www.house.gov/hostettler

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