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Chatfield will be ticketed for unregistered gun

A top-ranking Republican in Michigan’s House will be issued a civil infraction for bringing an unregistered gun to the airport in July.

Representative Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) was stopped in the security line at Pellston Regional Airport when he brought the gun there in July. He apologized, saying he made an "inexcusable mistake" when he accidentally brought the gun to the aiport. He also said he had thought his gun was registered.

"When a person purchases a firearm, they have ten days to register it," says Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin, "and failure to register it within that ten-day period is a state civil infraction." 

Chatfield failed to register the gun within the time period. 

"I think it’s very important to have firearms registered," says Wallin. "In case there was a crime or something, it makes the determination who owns the weapon."

Wallin says he will be issuing a civil infraction to Chatfield. A civil infraction is not a criminal charge; it’s a ticket. Wallin says the maximum fine is $250, and it will be up to the court to decide whether Chatfield is fined or not.

Earlier this week, the Emmet County prosecutor announced he would not press criminal charges against Chatfield for bringing a firearm to the airport, saying Michigan’s law is not clear.

Chatfield beat his Republican opponent in Tuesday's primary by a landslide.

Morgan Springer is a contributing editor and producer at Interlochen Public Radio. She previously worked for the New England News Collaborative as the host/producer of NEXT, the weekly show which aired on six public radio station in the region.