Norma Torres, D-Chino, left introduces bill pushing for arrest for anyone caught illegally bringing a concealed gun to an airport. Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly right.

Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 02/28/2012 06:27:09 PM PST

Assemblywoman Norma Torres has introduced a bill that takes aim at those caught illegally bringing a concealed gun to an airport — the type of offense fellow Inland Empire Assemblyman Tim Donnelly has been charged with.

The legislation, if approved, would require law enforcement to make an arrest for such an incident, and would also ban the convicted offender from returning to the airport where the incident took place.

“I think that somebody caught carrying a loaded weapon into an airport without a permit is something that shouldn’t be left to the imagination,” said Torres, D-Chino. “It should be clear that we have a zero tolerance for weapons in airports. There are too many lives at stake.”

Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, was charged last week with two misdemeanors for bringing a loaded gun into L.A./Ontario International Airport on Jan. 4.

“I think that at the airport, we’ve been a bit too lenient on what is a very hazardous situation with people bringing weapons to the airport,” Torres said. “By no means does this bill preclude someone from calling ahead of time and notifying to check their weapons. Under my bill, they can continue to do that.”

Donnelly called Torres’ legislation “petty” and costly.

“Running a bill through the Legislature costs an average of $20,000,” Donnelly said.

“Assemblywoman Torres is using state resources to play petty politics, rather than address California’s most pressing issues. Her actions confirm the low opinion Californians already have of politicians who abuse the power of their office for their own interests.”

Donnelly also said the bill removes discretion from law enforcement “trained to assess threats and respond appropriately.

“Rather than respecting the separation of powers and the discretion of law enforcement officers, Assemblywoman Torres is inappropriately inserting herself.”

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