Dem. aide gets off with warning for bringing gun into federal building

Rep John Conyers
Rep. John Conyers

An aide to Democratic  U.S. Rep. John Conyers for bringing a gun inside a federal building in downtown Detroit. Carrying weapons into government buildings is illegal, as a sign posted outside the Detroit building saying, “No weapons allowed,” makes clear.

Betty Petrenz, Conyers’ office manager, had the gun in her purse when security officers found it and wrote her a warning ticket – with no fine, jail time or punishment whatsoever, the Daily Caller reported.

Three others who committed the same error weren’t so lucky, according to the Detroit Free Press:

One woman — a clerk who worked at the courthouse for more than two decades — was fired last year after security officers discovered a gun in her purse.

A male law clerk for U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn agreed to resign after a gun was found in his briefcase last year.

Another woman, a real estate agent who was headed to bankruptcy court and had a gun in her purse (she had just shown a property), was criminally charged. Her gun permit had expired. She eventually got diversion.

According to court officials, all four individuals who were cited for having guns had permits to carry them, but accidentally brought them into the federal courthouse.

Rather than lose her job or face criminal charges, Petrenz will have the ticket dismissed after a period of good behavior.  Her attorney, Otis Culpepper, told the Detroit Free Press it was an honest mistake.

“She completely and inadvertently brought the thing in,” Culpepper said, adding that it was the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s decision to ticket her instead of charging her. “That was the offer, and she accepted. I think it’s fair.”

Conyers is a pro-gun control advocate who has earned an “F” grade from the National Rifle Association for his voting record on gun-related legislation.

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