Quick, what springs to mind when you think of Illinois?
OK, yeah, Abraham Lincoln, corrupt politicians, great whitetail hunting and terrible baseball are all state treasures, but being as this is Guns & Ammo you're reading, the real answer is the state's ultra-strict gun laws.
So we can't help but revel in the irony when an Illinois state senator — one who is a vocal proponent of gun control legislation — suddenly faces weapons charges.
Such is the case of Illinois state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, who was allegedly busted with an unloaded gun and a magazine with six rounds inside his carry-on bag as he passed through security at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.
At about 8 a.m. Wednesday, a Chicago Police officer responded to a call of a handgun spotted inside Trotter's garment bag as it passed through X-ray screening at Checkpoint No. 2 in Terminal 1. Trotter, who has been considered one of the frontrunners for a congressional seat recently vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., was escorted to a nearby room to be interviewed upon the discovery of the gun, a .25-caliber Beretta, and a magazine containing six rounds in a side pocket.
Check out the video from ABC7 Chicago.
Trotter's defense? The state Senator said he worked late Tuesday as a security guard for All Points Security, and in an apparent rush to pack his bag in the morning, forgot his handgun was in there, he told police. The Tribune reports Trotter has a valid Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card and has a permit from the Illinois Department of Financial and Profession Regulation to work as a security guard.
Be that as it may, Trotter faces a felony charge of trying to bring a firearm onto a plane. After spending the night in police lockup, a Cook County, Ill., judge set Trotter's bond for $25,000, though Trotter's attorney, Joshua Herman, said Trotter is ready to post the $2,500 bail necessary to be released from custody.
Assistant State's Atty. Lorraine Scaduto also said Trotter's gun is not registered in the city of Chicago per municipal ordinance. Judge Israel Desierto also ordered Trotter to surrender any firearms in his possession. Trotter is set for a preliminary hearing next Wednesday.
A pretty shocking turn of events, given Trotter's voting history in the Capitol in Springfield. Previously a State Representative, Trotter worked to have an assault weapons ban passed by the General Assembly during his first term, only to see it killed by the Senate. Since then, Trotter has co-sponsored his fair share of gun control legislation, including SB 1007, which would have banned the possession, manufacture, delivery, selling and purchasing of magazines with a capacity of over 10 rounds.
Check back with G&A for updates on this story.