New York Congressman Issued Summons for Loaded Gun at Airport
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A New York congressman was issued a summons Thursday after security guards detected a loaded handgun in his baggage as he passed through metal detectors at National Airport.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., said he had inadvertently left the loaded .32-caliber gun in his luggage when he drove back to Washington for a lame- duck session of Congress this week.
His attorney, David Lenefsky, said Hinchey forgot that the gun was in a carry-on bag when he decided to return to New York by air Thursday.
″I was thoroughly surprised when it showed up on the X-ray machine ...,″ Hinchey said. ″I regret the incident, take full responsibility for the mistake and will certainly take precautions to make sure such a mistake doesn’t happen again.″
Hinchey said he has been fully licensed in New York to carry a pistol for self-protection since the middle 1980s, when he was investigating organized crime as a state assemblyman.
″Clearly, if he knew he had the handgun, he would have recognized the accidental mishap and not have caused this regretful incident,″ Lenefsky said.
Lenefsky said the summons orders Hinchey to appear in court in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 5. He said his client would cooperate. The summons was for carrying a dangerous article in an airport, according to an airport spokeswoman.
″The police handled themselves perfectly.... We’re grateful they did everything right. We, too, don’t want people carrying weapons on airplanes,″ Lenefsky said.
The lawyer said the congressman first licensed the handgun in 1985 when, as a state assemblyman in New York, he received threats of physical violence in connection with an investigation he ran into organized crime’s ties to illegal uses of landfills.
Hinchey, 56, was first elected to Congress in 1992 and won a second term earlier this month. He represents the mid-Hudson River Valley in New York state in an area surrounding Binghamton.