Authorities won’t charge woman with gun at airport
Grand Junction police and the FBI decided not pursue charges after a Montrose woman said she had forgotten that a loaded handgun was in her purse when entering passenger screening Thursday at Grand Junction Regional Airport.
Transportation Security Administration officers notified local authorities just before 1 p.m. when a handgun turned up in a purse as it was screened by X-ray, according to a police incident report.
The woman’s name, along with other identifying information, was deleted in the version of the report released on Saturday by the Grand Junction Police Department.
The report said the woman explained that she and her husband live in a rural area of Montrose, and that she needed to get water from a neighbor’s water fill station on Wednesday night. She was concerned about rumors of a bear roaming the area, according to the report.
The woman said she brought her husband’s handgun to get water, then put it in her purse and didn’t realize it was there until it was flagged Thursday by TSA.
The woman turned the gun over to officers, who booked it into recovered property. Officers found no ill intent, and an agent of the FBI who responded to the airport reached the same conclusion, the report said.
A background check revealed no felony arrest history for the woman, who was allowed to go on her way.
“The Mesa County DA has indicated in these types of situations his office will not pursue charges and they do not seem appropriate in this situation,” the officer wrote in the report.
In October 2013, District Attorney Pete Hautzinger filed no charges, but entered into an adult diversion contract, in the case of Montrose city councilwoman Kathy Ellis, who was detained at Montrose County Regional Airport under similar circumstances. The two-year diversion deal signed by Ellis mandated that she perform 48 hours of public service and complete gun safety classes.
Seventh Judicial District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller asked Hautzinger to prosecute that case because of potential conflicts.