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Inside Politics

Gun found in congressman's carry-on bag

Lawmaker detained, but not arrested at airport

From Jeanne Meserve and Ted Barrett
CNN Washington Bureau

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John Hostettler
Airport Security

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. congressman was briefly detained at a Kentucky airport Tuesday after authorities found a loaded gun in his bag at a screening checkpoint, authorities said.

Rep. John Hostettler, R-Indiana, "completely forgot" he had the gun in his bag as he prepared to take a US Airways flight to Washington for the first day of work after a two-week recess, a spokesman for the congressman said.

A Homeland Security Department official said Hostettler had a loaded 9 mm Glock pistol in his bag at Louisville International Airport .

The congressman said he did not know the gun was in his bag and apologized, the official said.

Hostettler's spokesman, Michael Jahr, said Transportation Security Administration officials detained but did not arrest the congressman.

"He was pulled aside and questioned," and then was allowed to take a different flight, Jahr said, adding that he didn't know if the gun was confiscated.

The gun is registered to the congressman, but Jahr said Hostettler never brings it to Washington, where handguns are illegal. He does not have a house or apartment in the district, but sleeps in his office.

Hostettler is an avid sportsman and "hunts lots of things and does target practice," Jahr said. "He's been doing a lot to events in the district and may have packed the wrong bag."

Hostettler is seeking his sixth term representing his southwestern Indiana district.

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