BURLINGAME — Tim Donnelly, who has made gun rights a centerpiece of his campaign for governor, has a complicated history with firearms.
The Legislatures most outspoken Second Amendment advocate, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors after carrying a loaded gun into Ontario International Airport in 2012, and he acknowledged recently that the gun was not registered in his name.
As hes traveled the state in recent months, he has handled and fired guns at campaign events, raising questions about whether he was complying with the terms of his probation.
He has also experienced tragedy, the death of a family member following a gun-related arrest. His brother Paul E. Donnelly hanged himself in a Laurens County, S.C., jail in 2000 after he was arrested on charges that included assault with intent to kill, according to records reviewed by The Sacramento Bee.
In a lengthy interview with The Bee on Friday, Donnelly, a Twin Peaks assemblyman, talked about his brothers death and his own struggles with suicidal thoughts. On the subject of gun ownership, he said everything I have is legal but wouldnt say how many guns he owns or whether they are registered.
I find gun registration to be offensive, Donnelly said. I think gun registration is simply so that someday the government can confiscate it.
Last month, Donnellys main Republican opponent, Neel Kashkari, told an audience in Sacramento that he owns four guns and supports gun rights but is not running on an agenda of the Second Amendment.
If youre a single-issue voter, and you just want someone to give you a full-capacity assault rifle magazine, God bless you, you can go vote for somebody else, Kashkari said. Im not your guy.
Donnelly seized on the comment. In a fundraising email soliciting donations of $22, $222 or $2,222, Donnelly said, If you support the Second Amendment and believe its your God-given right as an American, then my RINO opponent, Neel Kashkari has got a newsflash for you: hes not your guy. RINO is shorthand for Republican in name only.
Donnelly wrote, Can you imagine a scenario in which you are forced to surrender your guns at the state line? We might, if Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari have their way.
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Donnellys history with firearms marked by controversy, tragedy