Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Tea Party leader arrested with gun in NY airport

Written By: Bob - Dec• 16•11

His lawyer’s carefully crafted statement make it almost sound like he was merely changing flights in New York when he was pinched, but the fact of the matter is that Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler was an idiot who illegally carried a gun in New York for “several days” before his airport arrest.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs LaGuardia, called the case an “unfortunate situation” and said that Meckler apparently did not know the law in New York.

Spokesman Al Della Fave said that Meckler, 49, had arrived at the airport at 5:30 a.m. to board a Delta flight to Detroit.

He declared that he had the weapon in his luggage, Della Fave said, and the ticket agent notified police.

Police found the gun, which is registered, locked in a case.

“He had the weapon and ammunition, and that’s like having a loaded weapon,” Della Fave said.

Although Meckler has a permit for California, he does not have one for New York, where he had stayed for several days, Della Fave said.

I think New York’s laws are asinine, but the simple fact of the matter is that it is a concealed carry permit holder’s duty to learn the laws of the states he intends to carry his weapon in and comply with the laws of that state.

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  1. Anon says:

    I’ll emphatically agree with knowing, and being in compliance with, firearms laws of the places one visits or travels through. And, I’ll concur that New York’s gun laws are beyond asinine.

    That said, until New York changes its laws (or is forced to), what’s the solution for travelers into and through both New Yorks? IIRC, New York state has a law that assumes possession of five or more handguns (each legally owned elsewhere) is felony gun trafficking, and I’ve heard that a number of people over the years who travel through NY to get elsewhere get expensively surprised by this law. It’s also quite possible to meet all legal requirements of transporting a legally-owned gun in checked baggage while flying, have one’s flight diverted to a New York City airport for whatever reason, and become an instant felon the moment the bag is retrieved from the carousel to walk to another gate for the replacement flight (I need to research the FARs on possession status if the airline moves the checked bag to a different plane within a jurisdiction that prohibits possession, which won’t help if they have to return your bags and/or put you up in a hotel if there’s a long delay in resuming your trip).

    Meckler should not have put himself in that position, but if one is traveling on business (by whatever mode of transportation), and NYC is one of many stops, what are the options? If one is going from Virginia to NYC, then to New Hampshire, it should be easy to either ship the gun to yourself at your NH destination, or have the airline provide secure storage and transport. Unfortunately, federal gun laws don’t provide for the ship option unless an FFL is involved, and I’m sure the airlines don’t want the expense and hassle of “track and store” because one of their terminal locations has oppressive laws.

    My first thought is the obvious one: avoid places like New York and Massachusetts like the plague, but sometimes that may not be possible.

  2. rumcrook says:

    New York is virtually the lone state that refuses to reciprocate concealed carry permits with other states

  3. Tai says:

    This could be an attempt to set up a challenge to NY’s reciprocity laws. If so, I just hope he doesn’t end up like Homer Plessy.

  4. He isn’t accused of carrying a concealed handgun, he’s accused of illegally possessing a handgun. Since NY requires a permit to posses, they decided to haul him in. What no one seems to be remembering is that a recent ruling in Illinois said that possession of a license from your home state is the equivalent of a Illinios FOID. I predict that a similar thing will happen to New York.

    • Dragon says:

      Sorry Sean…doesn’t work that way in NY (as a former NY’er that left only two months ago, and a Pistol License holder while there, I’m quite familiar with the laws in that state).

      A recent ruling in Illinois has no bearing in NY, because NY Law (Penal Codes 265 and 400) does not allow for FOID cards. The NY License is a license to Carry Pistol. Thats it, nothing more. Its been *interpreted* to mean that without a license, you can’t *own* one, because of two things:

      1) NY Law specifically sets up tiers of carry prohibitions

      2) NY allows for Home Rule, where the local jurisdictions are free to interpret as they wish

      I used to live in Sullivan County. In that county, when the judge (Frank LaBuda) grants a license, unless he has good cause to restrict it, its more often than not granted without any restrictions as to where you can carry, but it must be concealed. The next county West (Delaware) is almost like living in Virginia…folks there routinely OC, and the same Penal Code has been interpreted as meaning that you can carry a pistol, and that the law is silent on *how* you carry it. One county east of Sullivan, Permits are almost NEVER issued without restrictions, so the best you can hope for as a handgun owner is possession in the home.

      And thats why looking to the Illinois FOID case as a precedent falls flat in NY…NY *must* give permission to possess a pistol, even if it is in the privacy of your own home. NY licenses pistol possession within the state.

      Not so for longarms, though. You can travel through NY with a rifle and have no problem whatsoever. You don’t need a FOID or a NY license to possess a rifle or shotgun, or carbine. Long Arms are not regulated in NY at all, but due to Home Rule, they are regulated in the larger metro cities like Manhattan, Rochester, Albany, etc.

      Had this lawyer flown with a cased rifle, nothing at all would have happened to him. The problem stemmed directly from the possession of a handgun, and the PoPo know that they’ve got ya when you pick up that pistol case form the carousel, because according to the law, only a NY resident can be issued a NY Pistol License. Non-residents can’t get one. Passing *through* NY via a connecting flight if fine, because your luggage moves from one plane to the next without you touching it.

      Thats why most of the friends I left behind in NY are hoping for HR822 to make it into law. They are sick of the laws in their own state, because even when you DO have a pistol license, the PoPo are very anti-gun, and will always hassle you when you’re carrying legally.

  5. Indigo Red says:

    I have met Mark Meckler ay my local TEA Party Patriots events and he’s a bright guy. He’s also an attorney who should have known better than to carry a firearm and ammo together on an plane or in New York.

    I agree with Sean above as to the outcome. However, I disagree this was an attempt to challenge reciptocity because running from a CBS news crew doesn’t seem like something a person with a point to make would do.

  6. Mike says:

    One: It is never legal to posess a handgun in NY if you are not a properly permitted resident. (Exception is attending a “properly sanctioned” competitive event, but lets not go there for this incident)

    Two: It is legal to transport ammunition (limited quantity, for personal use) in checked baggage. (Questionable point: Since the locked pistol case is its own container, could they ridge together in the same bag, don’t know)

    Finally, It is only possible to avoid prosecution by avoiding air travel into or through NY. Which seems to fly in the face of the FOPA.

    Clearly NY does not want handguns passing through their borders, and to an extent it is there right to do so. (I would prefer they restrict the criminals, but law abiding citizens are probably easier to catch as they turn themselves in at Ticketing. An arrest is an arrest and statistics are always to their benefit.) But does NY have a right, in the flow of commerce, to deny a constitutional right to a person legal at the beginning and end of a trip but who must use a shared public facility in NY to complete their travels?

    Then again, sanity has never been a hallmark of NY legislation.