Detroit Judge Busted for Unregistered Handgun at Airport

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The state of Michigan is one of those that decided making law-abiding citizens register their handguns would have some kind of impact on criminals who will not register theirs. No, I don't understand the logic--if you can call it that--behind this "thinking" or anything, but it isn't anything but a way to treat law-abiding citizens like they're suspected criminals.


But suffice it to say that if you're in Michigan, your handgun is supposed to be registered with the authorities.

You should most definitely not bring your unregistered handgun to the airport, though. Especially if you're trying to board a flight. I mean, you can check it in your luggage in accordance with the airline's rules on such things--they're not likely to check to see if it's properly registered, after all--but you should definitely not try to take it on the plane.

That's especially true if you're a judge.

The Smith & Wesson .380 pistol a Wayne County Juvenile Court judge had in her purse going through security at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport was not registered, according to a police report of the incident — the latest episode involving a public official bringing a gun to the Romulus airport.

Third Circuit Court Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller was about to board a Delta Airlines flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport at about 9:18 a.m. on June 8, when a U.S. Transportation Security Administration agent spotted the pistol on the x-ray machine's monitor, according to a report by the Wayne County Airport Authority Police Department that was obtained by The Detroit News through a public records request.

"(A TSA agent whose name was redacted) checked Ms. Miller's purse and found a Smith & Wesson, M&P Bodyguard 380," said the report that was written by an airport police officer. "I cleared the weapon to make it safe. There was a round of ammunition chambered. The firearm was not artfully concealed. I located Ms. Miller's credentials, ID, driver license and (an item that was redacted).

"Ms. Miller told me she had not registered the firearm at this time," the report said. "Ms. Miller told me her brother lived and purchased the firearm in (a redacted location).

"Ms. Miller was told she was under arrest for bringing a loaded firearm through an Airport Security Checkpoint," the report said. " ... TSA conducted their additional screening. Upon Ms. Miller completing TSA screening, (an airport police corporal) escorted her to (another area of the airport)."

Miller was issued a misdemeanor ordinance violation for "dangerous weapons" and ordered to contact Romulus's 34th District Court within 14 days.


Miller, through her attorney, claims the gun belonged to a close friend.

However, I don't think that gets her out of hot water. After all, Michigan has universal background checks, which cover the transfer of firearms. People think of it as gun sales, but it's really any transfer from one owner to another. "It belongs to a close friend" may well be interpreted to an illegal transfer, even temporarily, and cause her even more problems.


Regardless, the defense seems to be that this is an old gun registration law and it should be repealed, which I agree with. Gun registration is blatantly unconstitutional and generally useless in preventing violent crime. There's no reason for the laws to exist so they should go the way of the dodo.

But it's the law on the books now, and Miller appears to have violated it.

However, it seems she was far from the first person from the criminal justice system to have done so.

Former Detroit Police Chief Jerry Oliver resigned in 2003 after he brought an unregistered .25 caliber pistol into Metro Airport as he was on his way to a police chief's conference in Philadelphia. Former Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan, now Detroit's mayor, charged Oliver with possessing an unlicensed handgun, a misdemeanor. Oliver pleaded no contest to the charge and paid a $250 fine. The former chief also was fined $300 by the TSA.

In 2007, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy recused herself after Sylvia James, former chief judge of Inkster's 22nd District Court, was stopped with a loaded, unregistered gun in her carry-on bag. Worthy said she and James were sorority sisters who had a personal relationship. Washtenaw County prosecutors took the case and decided not to charge James, because they said investigators were unable to prove she had intentionally brought the firearm to the airport.


So it seems Miller is just keeping up with tradition or something.

I sincerely hope these other folks' penalties were on par with what the average person in Detroit would face for the same thing. I'd hate to think that there's preferential treatment for colleagues or anything, though I think we all know that's probably the case.

Of course, if this gets the gun registration thing killed in Michigan, so much the better. Unfortunately, I've seen nothing out of that state lately that suggests we'll see any such thing. Instead, we'll see this become a non-story and the state will just find other gun control laws to cram down the throats of the law-abiding citizens who have done nothing wrong.

Because that's what happens in anti-gun states and that's what Michigan is.

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