Four months after a California assemblyman was cited and released for carrying a gun into an airport, the Assembly passed legislation today that would require offenders to be taken into custody in such situations.
Democratic Assemblywoman Norma Torres said her Assembly Bill 2182 did not stem from the January incident involving Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, which occurred at an Ontario airport on the first day of this year's legislative session.
"This issue is about protecting the public," Torres said of her bill.
With Republicans opposed, the Assembly voted 46-25 to approve Torres' bill. Donnelly voted no on the bill but did not speak during floor debate today. AB 2182 now goes to the Senate.
Peace officers currently make the decision to take an offender into custody or to issue a citation based on an evaluation of risk to the public, such as prior criminal record and whether the suspect is a gang member.
Republican Assemblyman Steve Knight suggested that the bill was a shot by the Democratic assemblywoman at Donnelly. He also argued that peace officers should have discretion to cite and release offenders in cases where there is no public threat.
"Cite and release means (an officer) might be able to get back on the street in 45 minutes rather than three and a half hours," Knight said.
Supporters characterized AB 2182 as legislation meant to ensure that all cases are treated equally, eliminating any chance of preferential treatment based on status.
"I think fairness is what it's all about," said Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada-Flintridge.