Our VoiceCulture

CA Assemblyman Tim Donnelly Caught with Loaded Gun in Airport, Blames DREAMers


Stephen Piggott • Jan 11, 2012

Photo: Jim Carson's Flickr page

Traditionally the first week back from the winter holidays is a tough one. Getting back into the daily routine can be difficult after an extended break full of merrymaking.  California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly took this old adage to the new level last week when he both made a high profile gaffe and had to come to terms with a major failure in his battle against immigration in the state of California.

On Wednesday, January 4, Donnelly was cited and released after airport security found a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag at LA-Ontario International Airport. According to newspaper reports, Donnelly was carrying a “.45-caliber Colt Mark IV handgun with four rounds of ammunition in the magazine and a separate magazine with five additional rounds.” Donnelly’s excuse for carrying the weapon was that he has been receiving death threats for his opposition to the Dream Act in California.

It is the Dream Act that brings us to the second phase of Donnelly’s bad week.

On Friday, January 6, Donnelly announced that his petition drive to repeal the Dream Act had failed, coming over 57,000 signatures short of the required 504,760 needed to get the referendum on the ballot for 2012. Donnelly’s opposition to the Dream Act is not surprising when we take a look at his affiliations.

He is a member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, a coalition of nativist lawmakers, purposed with promoting anti-immigrant legislation at the state level. SLLI maintains a working relationship with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the John Tanton Network’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)—both founded by white nationalist John Tanton. IRLI is responsible for writing some of the harshest anti-immigrant legislation in the country, including Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. Donnelly is also the co-founder of the anti-immigrant group Minutemen Civil Defense Corps of California, which went on to become the largest chapter in the state.

After the gun gaffe and Dream Act repeal failure last week Donnelly attempted to play down their significance but, sadly for him, both played a significant role in Donnelly having one very bad week.

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