Mike Huckabee's son, David, 26, was arrested at the Little Rock National Airport about 5:30 a.m. this morning for having a handgun in carry-on luggage while preparing to board a plane. The gun was found during routine security screening.
"It was a mistake," said police Lt. Terry Hastings. "It happens all the time. He just forgot he had it." He said airport security said such forgetfulness occurs three or four times a year at the airport.
A friend quotes David as saying it was a "stupid, stupid mistake." Young Huckabee, who travels in the mortgage business, often carries a gun with him on the road. He usually travels by car, but told a friend that he threw his computer case (and gun) in a bag when he got up at 4:30 a.m. for an early morning flight and simply forgot about the gun.
Huckabee was arrested and taken for a short period to a North Little Rock holding facility. He then appeared before District Judge Lee Munson and pleaded guilty to having a gun in a prohibited place, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to a year in jail, suspended, and one year of supervised probation. He was ordered to perform 10 days of community service (he can pay $100 and avoid work duty) and assessed $605 855 in fine and costs. After the court appearance, he went through processing at the County Jail and was released.
Huckabee has told friends he plans to do his community service rather than pay $100 to avoid it. And we're provided this comment he sent to a friend by e-mail:
" I screwed up and made a stupid mistake. I forgot my gun was in my computer bag, which was careless, and now I have to deal with the consequences. I am the only one who made the mistake and the only one who can make sure that I do everything the court requires me to do for my punishment. The privilege to carry my gun is only there as long as I also accept the responsibilities that come with it."
Hastings said Huckabee has a concealed weapon permit and was carrying a Glock .40-caliber loaded with eight rounds.
From the police report of the officer called to look at the carry-on bag by an X-ray operator: "I removed the bag and asked Mr. Huckabee if he knew what he had in the bag. He replied he did now."
Police confiscated the gun and a clip with an additional nine rounds. A court spokesman said Huckabee could petition for return of the gun after the 30-day appeal period on the conviction had expired.
UPDATE: A letter is being drafted providing for the immediate suspension of Huckabee's concealed carry permit, as the law provides. It's unclear at this moment when he can apply to have the suspension lifted.
UPDATE II: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, currently running for president, issued this statement on the incident:
"I love my son but what he did was irresponsible, but not intentional. The right to carry a firearm has to be balanced with an equal responsibility to not make foolish errors like forgetting about it being in one's briefcase. He was treated courteously and professionally but received no special treatment and he shouldn't have.
"David has to accept full responsibility and the consequences of his actions as any other adult -- and he is doing that. I make no excuses for him and would expect him to accept whatever penalties are given. It is the court's responsibility to properly consequence him for a foolish act but his family's responsibility to love him and temper our disappointment with our support.”