By Jim Sanders
Published: Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly has been charged with two misdemeanors for bringing a briefcase containing a loaded .45-caliber firearm into Ontario International Airport last month.
The 45-year-old Twin Peaks Republican was charged Friday with illegal possession of a loaded firearm and possession of a prohibited item in a sterile area.
The two counts against Donnelly carry maximum jail sentences of one year and six months, respectively, although judges are free to impose lighter sentences based on circumstances. Each also carries a potential $1,000 fine.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office announced the filing of charges more than seven weeks after Donnelly’s Colt Mark IV was discovered by security screeners as he prepared to board a flight to Sacramento for the Assembly’s first session of the year.
Donnelly responded Friday by calling the incident an “innocent mistake for which I have taken responsibility.” He complimented law enforcement officials and said he has been candid about the matter publicly, serves his district proudly and regrets any inconvenience he caused.
Donnelly will remain eligible to serve in the Assembly, regardless whether he is convicted of the misdemeanor offenses. Assembly rules cut off pay for members only if they are convicted of a felony.
The second-year lawmaker, who was cited and released at the airport Jan. 4, characterized the incident shortly after it happened as a simple error in which he forgot that he had placed the weapon in his briefcase days prior.
To read entire story, click here.