On December 15, 2011 Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Mekler was arrested at La Guardia Airport for trying to check a locked gun box containing his Glock27 and 19 rounds of ammunition. Mekler was arrested for possession of a concealed weapon.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the charges, Meckler presented a locked gunbox to a Delta Airlines ticket agent at approximately 5:20 a.m. this morning, December 15, 2011, during check-in. It is alleged that the box contained a Glock 27 pistol and nineteen 9mm cartridges. Meckler, who has been in New York since Sunday, December 11, 2011, allegedly told authorities that he had the pistol because he gets threats and that he does not have a New York State carry permit.
– Queens County DA press release
Mr. Mekler did use the proper protocol when checking the gun at the airport if he was pretty much anywhere but New York City. According to NYC laws non-residents can only possess a firearm if transiting through NYC and it must be kept in a locked case.
Mekler stated that he carries a gun due to threats against him and has a permit to carry in California, but that permit is of no use in New York. Mekler’s lawyer argued that he was “in temporary transit through the state of New York in possession of an unloaded, lawful firearm”. Al Della Fave, spokesperson for NYC Port Authority said “He didn’t have a correct understanding of the law”. According to my research it seems if Mekler had stayed in NYC for less than 24 hours and kept the Glock locked up the whole time he would have been within the law. The way the law is written it could be interpreted several different ways from that even.
Some are using Mekler’s arrest as an argument for a national concealed carry permit. Every state that issues concealed carry permits requires proper training for said permit. There a few variations on the training with some states but the training still boils down to proper firearm handling. In some ways a national permit would be a good idea especially for folks like Mr. Mekler but I am sure that by the time the politicians got through with the list of requirements it would only hinder legal gun ownership.
When and if Mekler is convicted he could face up to 15 years in prison and a felony record.
LESSON TO BE LEARNED
When traveling outside of your state be sure and research what is permissible in any state and city you may enter on the trip. If you are traveling to New York City, you might as well hire an armed bodyguard that has the appropriate permits for the city, you will most likely come out cheaper that way in the long run, just ask Mr. Mekler.
For those of you that own firearms, train hard and well and teach those that do not know how. Be good stewards of the right to bear arms, for we are the last line of defense against tyranny.