Michigan Democratic aide Betty Petrenz reportedly received only a ticket this week after she was caught illegally bringing a gun into a public building, despite her boss’ advocacy work for stronger gun control laws.
Security officers found the gun in Petrenz’s purse as she entered the downtown Detroit building in which she is office manager for Rep. John Conyers. She apparently received no sentence or formal punishment, but was issued a ticket that can be removed from her record with good behavior.
Petrenz’s lawyer Otis Culpepper stressed that she made a simple mistake, and reminded the court that she acted fairly and complied with a ticket instead of a sentencing.
“That was the offer and she accepted,” Culpepper said. “I think it’s fair.”
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While Conyers’ history of gun control advocacy may have aided in Petrenz’s lenient punishment, considering he earned an “F” rating from the NRA, many are astonished that she was not criminally charged or arrested in a world of zero-tolerance for gun violence.
Conservative news site Rare was outraged with Petrenz’s punishment.
“Children are literally suspended from school for bringing gun-shaped pop tarts to school,” a blogger wrote, “yet this Democratic clerk gets off scott-free.”
Previously, a clerk who had worked at the courthouse for two decades was fired after security officials found a gun in her bag.
Additionally, a clerk for U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn was forced to resign after a gun was found in his briefcase last year.
"Each circumstance was different," Court Administrator David Weaver said. "It's not one size fits all. You have to look at the situation and the person.”