CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 19: A passenger enters a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport on October 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Yesterday the TSA reported that it had screened over 1 million passengers, representing the highest number of passengers screened at TSA checkpoints since March 17, 2020. During the week ending October 18, TSA screened 6.1 million passengers nationwide, the highest total since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Republican Lawmaker Arrested in Hong Kong for the Most Stereotypical Thing

It's the gun, stupid.

Jeff Wilson, a state senator from Washington, got into some trouble overseas. He was arrested in Hong Kong for carrying a gun into a city. That’s pretty reckless, I must say. This incident took place at the Hong Kong International Airport where he was charged with possession of a firearm without a license. This crime in Hong Kong is punishable by up to 14 years in prison with a fine of over $12,000. Instead of being held in a foreign prison (darn), Wilson was granted bail on Monday at the Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court. 

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It is important to note that guns in Hong Kong aren’t available everywhere like they are in the United States. The rules are extremely strict. Anyone who wants to possess a license for a gun OR ammunition must apply for a license directly with the Commissioner of Police. These licenses are mostly given to those in law enforcement, security, and those who run shooting ranges. Private gun ownership is not considered a constitutional right like it is in America. Guns are just not a part of their culture. You wouldn’t see them out in public, at stores, at parks, in homes, or anywhere really except for those shooting clubs. In fact, according to a recent report, Hong Kong ranked 109 in the world in private gun ownership. So exactly what was Wilson doing? Beats me.

Wilson isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to get caught with a gun at an airport. You may remember the wild child ex-congressman from my home state of North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn. In April of this year, he was caught carrying a loaded gun at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport … and it wasn’t even the first time! I live in Charlotte so I heard the news quickly, and I was dumbfounded. He ended up pleading guilty in May and was fined $250. I know that these people are gun zealots, but you would think even they wouldn’t be dumb enough to keep bringing guns to airports. And why are the punishments so small? I guess law enforcement is following the law but it seems like they both just got a slap on the wrist. Cawthorn even got to keep his gun.

So why would someone be so stupid? Especially an elected official like Jeff Wilson? He released a statement where he said it was, you know, an “honest mistake.” He and his wife were traveling to Southeast Asia for five weeks on vacation. Stunningly, he said he realized that he had it mid-flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong. Apparently, the airport security and baggage screeners in Portland did not notice it. That is not okay and apparently, CNN has reached out to them for comment. How did they miss such a thing? Incredible.

Jeff Wilson said the gun is registered in Washington state and that he has a concealed pistol license. But interestingly enough, Washington has horrendous gun laws. They have open carry without a license for both long guns and handguns. All of this highlights how insanely obsessed Americans are with guns, and how much Republicans take them for granted. How do they just keep willy-nilly showing up in luggage? And in some of the most allegedly secure places like airports? Are these people so insecure that they have to carry their guns everywhere? Oh wait, Wilson said he “didn’t know.” So how does one not know? Does the state senator carry his gun so frequently that he wouldn’t even notice or remember packing it for travel? Did his wife pack it and not tell? Did someone else pack it?!?! I just have so many questions. 

Regardless, none of it makes sense. Republicans treat guns like hair brushes. The lack of care and caution they continue to exhibit over WEAPONS is unbelievable. But are we really surprised? They are showing why there needs to be MORE regulation and not less. Someone like Wilson didn’t even care enough to check his weapon as he traveled out of the freakin’ country. To a country where private citizens do not even own guns. If sitting politicians have no respect for the law and norms and safe storage of weapons, how can we expect ordinary people to do so?

(featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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