Congressman Pleads Guilty To Carrying Gun At Airport

Shannon Davidson

(LOUISVILLE, August 10th, 2004, 3:30 p.m.) -- Anytime a handgun is confiscated at the airport, it's likely to make headlines, but when Indiana Congressman John Hostettler was stopped by security, the election year implications ran deep. In April the 5-term Republican was prevented from boarding his flight in Louisville after officials found a handgun in his briefcase. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed deadly weapon in an airport. Shannon Davidson reports.

Attorney David Schuler entered the plea on Representative John Hostettler's behalf. The plea was to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Hostettler was stopped at a security checkpoint at Louisville International Airport on April 20th when a TSA employee operating X-ray equipment discovered a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun in his briefcase.

Hostettler said he forgot he had placed the gun in the briefcase. He was about to board a flight to Washington.

Hostettler could have been fined a maximum of $500 for the offense, but prosecutors told us they are not recommending a fine. Instead, they're recommending 60 days in jail. That sentence, however, will be suspended for two years.

As part of the plea, Hostettler agreed to surrender the handgun that was found in his luggage on April 20. Also for a two-year period, Hostettler would only be allowed to buy a handgun in Indiana and Washington, D.C., his two places of residence.

Hostettler's permit to carry a concealed weapon will not be recognized in Kentucky during the two-year period.

Judge Donald Armstrong agreed that Hostettler would not have to be present for an August 23rd sentencing.

Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze says Hostettler was no differently than anyone else would have been under similar circumstances. Maze says there have been similar outcomes in 70 percent of cases involving travelers caught with weapons at airports.

Online Reporter: Shannon Davidson

Online Producer: Michael Dever