The United States protects the right to own and carry guns like no other nation on the planet. I mean, we have more than half the states that don’t even require a permit to carry a gun, for crying out loud.
Yet other nations are far less tolerant of the right to keep and bear arms.
That’s especially true in a place like China.
Hong Kong isn’t quite like the rest of China, but it’s not exactly Lubbock, Texas, either. Especially when it comes to firearms.
And one Washington state senator is finding that out the hard way.
Washington state senator Jeff Wilson was arrested on Saturday at Hong Kong International Airport and charged with possession of a firearm without a license, the charge sheet states, an offense punishable by up to 14 years in prison and a fine of more than $12,000.
Wilson appeared in the Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court on Monday and was granted bail, according to public broadcaster RTHK.
The Republican state senator, whose full name is Stephen J. Wilson, said he did not realize he had packed his pistol in his briefcase while he and his wife were traveling for a five-week vacation to Southeast Asia, according to a statement posted on his website.
“It was an honest mistake. And I expect the situation to be resolved shortly,” Wilson said in the statement.
Wilson said he “discovered the weapon mid-flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong.”
He “did not realize his pistol was in his briefcase when he passed through airport security in Portland, and baggage screeners failed to note it,” the statement added.
Wilson said in the statement that when the plane landed in Hong Kong, he “immediately went to customs officials and called their attention to the issue.”
He was then arrested.
Now, I’m going to start off by saying that I just don’t understand how someone could forget a gun was in a bag or briefcase. Maybe some of you guys have so many guns that you can’t keep up with it, but that’s definitely a problem I can’t afford to have.
That out of the way, though, there’s a certain amount of respect I have to give Wilson.
Look, he could have tried to bluff his way out of it. He probably could have dumped the gun in a trash can or something and pretended that it never happened. He might even have been able to just mail it home and likely gotten away with it if he had.
Instead, he stepped up and told the authorities that he’d screwed up and put himself in a position to face the music.
Admittedly, I don’t know that I would have done it. I’d have at least tried to pretend that nothing happened, that nothing was left in the briefcase, and dealt with the gun later.
That’s not me bragging or anything, but a simple admission that I don’t know that I’d own up to what I did like Wilson did.
Some will likely vilify him or mock him, but I actually think it’s praiseworthy to some degree.
If you want to mock someone, mock TSA who should have caught the gun in the first place. They’re at least deserving of it.