Delaware General Assembly

Probation Pettyjohn

You’ll remember when this past summer State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, the responsible gun owner and protector of the Second Amendment, “forgot” that he had a loaded hand gun in his carry on bag as he attempted to board a plane at the Salisbury, MD regional airport.   The responsible gun owner had a license to carry a concealed weapon in Delaware, but not in Maryland.  And he had no license anywhere in any state to carry a loaded gun onto a plane.

Well, he entered in a plea agreement this past Friday.  He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of having a concealed handgun on his person, and the felony charge of carrying an firearm onto an aircraft was dismissed.  He will serve 18 months of unsupervised probation.  He was facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  He had to surrender his gun.

I will take him at his word that he just made an “honest mistake,” and that when he is not rushed and in a hurry, he is a responsible gun owner.   And hopefully he now has a realization that common sense regulation of guns are in fact reasonable given the fact that not all people are such responsible and safe gun owners like Senator Pettyjohn.   I look forward to his sponsorship of several gun control legislation this coming legislative session.


Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

8 comments on “Probation Pettyjohn

  1. Giving the sarcasm of the last line a solid B as it could have had a bit more invective. Will note that this is yet another example of America’s famed multi tiered justice system, Pettyjohn essentially walks on a charge that would have been pursued against the rest of us.

  2. I still can’t believe someone could “forget” they had a loaded gun in a suitcase. That’s stunning, and it happens so often. Does he have children? If so, he should be banned from ever owning a gun again.

    This guy is why I always asked people if they owned guns before I let my kids go to their house. If they said they owned a gun… sorry, but my kids weren’t going to your house. Far too many gun owners label themselves “responsible” when, in fact, far too many are like Pettyjohn.

  3. Scott Blackson

    Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, who has been tracking the number of weapons charges dropped in Delaware, said he would like to see more of these offenses prosecuted.
    “I know there are plea deals that are done to get those charges dropped, but the question is, are we dropping the right charges,” Pettyjohn asked.
    He said that part of the reason for tracking these charges was to see if state lawmakers could help the Attorney General’s Office better prosecute them. And while he understands that some charges will be dismissed, Pettyjohn said the system seems to be set up to have these cases plea bargained.
    What stands out to Pettyjohn are the number of charges dropped when a person is accused of carrying a weapon during the commission of a felony. According to the 2012-2014 report by the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, of the more than 5,300 charges involving a gun or other weapon during the commission of a felony, 80 percent were not prosecuted in those three years.
    “I don’t think a weapons charge should be dropped,” he said. “I think that we can drop some other charges, but if they’re committing a felony with a weapon, whether its a knife or a hammer, … I think we should be prosecuting for that. That would send a very strong message that the Attorney General’s Office is very serious about prosecuting these crimes.”
    Not prosecuting gun charges makes him question why new gun laws are needed.
    “I think we’ve got enough and I think we really need to start prosecuting the crimes that we have now,” he said.

    Pettyjohn thinks he is above the law as a Delaware Senator. Apparently he is.

  4. Actually what his statement indicates is that he knows nothing about the criminal justice system or how it operates. About 96% of people arrested will plead out, just as he did. Without plea bargains defendants would have to wait a decade for their day in court.

    Funny how often the Steve Martin defense — “I forgot!” — works if you’re a white man (especially a politician), and how seldom it works otherwise.

    • cassandram

      Not arguing the plea deals, but this is Pettyjohn getting his Tough on Crime persona on — and it is pretty clear that he can call for extra sanctions because he thinks he will (or no one he knows) ever be caught up in it. This brain dead Tough on Crime stuff won’t go away until it really applies to everyone.

      ADDING — I wish he had been prosecuted for bringing a weapon into a secure area because he should not have more privileges here than I do. And because if flight safety is supposed to be a priority, pleading away infractions provides no deterrence whatsoever.

  5. “This brain dead Tough on Crime stuff won’t go away until it really applies to everyone.”

    This seems like an acknowledgement that it will never go away, then. Because even if white male privilege ends, while male politician privilege will live on.

  6. Everyone makes mistakes and serves forgiveness.

    • Scott Blackson

      Not everyone commits a felony. And yes, you deserve forgiveness AFTER YOU SERVE YOUR SENTENCE!

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