Tuesday, November 13, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: City council Prez totes loaded gun to airport

Well folks .. I meant to post this about 5 p.m. .. but as most of you know, our power went ka-bam with a downtown fire .. and I got pulled into breaking news coverage and handed this breaking news story off to another reporter. So it's 8:50 p.m. and my computer is literally just coming back on as we get power restored to our Akron newsroom. Sorry for the prolonged suspense.

What I planned to write -- and break exclusively here on my blog -- was last night's incident at CAK involving Akron City Council President Marco Sommerville. I found out early this morning that Sommerville was toting a loaded .38 as he went through the metal detectors on his way to New Orleans. Summit Deputies and TSA folks seized the gun, made a report, and sent Sommerville on his way. FYI: Sommerville does have a Concealed Carry License, but obviously he shouldn't be packing heat at the airport.

While I'm still researching previous cases, I was always under the impression that previous gun-totaing passengers were put in cuffs, booked, and then appeared before a judge in the morning to explain why they were carrying at the airport. Sources tell me that the deputies at CAK definitely recognized Sommerville as a political figure, but whether that played into their decision to release him instead of arresting him I don't know.

Just so you know, when I called Mark Williamson, city spokesman, around noon to get a comment .. he responded with a deep breath and a "greatttttttttttttttt" sigh. He hadn't heard yet, nor had many others at city hall. Later I know Mark did inform Mayor Plusquellic, but city leaders had not seen the police report nor spoken with Sommerville, so they really couldn't comment yet.

Obviously, we still need to talk with Marco when he returns from the south. My guess is that he'll be up front and honest that it was a mistake. He's always been straight with me as a reporter and never ducked a tough story so he deserves the benefit of the doubt until he gives us his side.
A source tells me Sommerville WILL be charged both locally and federally, but those official decisions won't be made just yet.

Any way you look at it, the case doesn't look good because most people feel that if it were them packing heat at the airport, they would have been thumped first and questioned later.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

AS a CCW License holder myself, everyone is taught the basic laws of where you can carry and where you can't.
He has NO excuse for this. It's taught in every class as mandated by the Ohio AG.
Plus there's a Federal law against this. There is a legal way to transport firearms on planes and it only take a few extra minutes to declare it at the airport.
NO EXCUSE- he deserves to have his license REVOKED and fined.
He's giving the rest of us CCW license holders a bad name.

Swanny said...

Seriously, I don't know what Marco was thinking. First of all, as a CCW holder, he knows better than to carry a loaded gun into the airport and to try to check it in his carry-on bag. Second, Louisiana doesn't have CCW reciprocity with Ohio, so even if he would have placed an unloaded weapon in a locked container in his checked luggage, there is no way that he would have been able to legally carry the handgun in Louisiana.

To me, the far bigger issue is how law enforcement handled this case. If this hadn't have been an elected official, I would wager to say that the person would have been arrested on the spot, which is exactly what happened to a gentleman in a similar circumstance last week in Atlantic City. Instead, Marco's gun was confiscated and he was allowed to travel.

Anonymous said...

I hope he is held to the same standard as others in these circumstances. How could he possibly have thought it would be okay to carry a loaded handgun in carry-on luggage when you can't carry an upopened bottle of spring water. Please, give me a break!!! I'm tired of the double standard.

Anonymous said...

HE SHOULD BE ARRESTED NOW. HAVE A TRIAL. AND IF FOUND GUILTY JAIL AND HEAVY FINE.
WHY DO I HAVE TO TAKE OFF MY SHOES PRACTICALLLY GET STRIP SEARCHED AND HEAVEN HELP ME IF I HAVE A NAIL CLIPPER IN MY CARRY ON...

THIS IS A CLEAR DOUBLE STANDARD AND IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME WITH PEOPLE OF POWER.
IT HAPPENED HERE IN PANAMA CITY FLORIDA WITH A COUNTY COMMISIONER NAMED GEORGE GAINER STILL IN OFFICE LAST YEAR. AND NOT A THING HAPPENED TO HIM. HE WAS EVEN ALLOWED TO TAKE HIS PISTOL WITH HIM IN CHECK IN LUGGAGE. NO ARREST, NO JAIL NO NOTHING.
THE PEOPLE ARE GETTING FED UP WITH THIS CROCK OF BALONEY CALLED "HOMELAND SECURITY."

Anonymous said...

What is this guy's history as a city councilman when it comes to gun rights?