This past Monday (March 19), Meredith Graves — who on December 22 attempted to check her gun before entering the 9/11 Memorial — pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, and will serve no jail time. A felony conviction would have meant a minimum of 3½ years and a maximum of 15.
On Tuesday, Indiana’s Ryan Jerome — arrested in September after attempting to check his gun before entering the Empire State Building — also accepted a misdemeanor gun possession charge calling for no jail time. Jerome actually had thought to check about reciprocity laws, but claims he misread “New York carry permits are honored in Indiana” as “Indiana carry permits are honored in New York.”
(Still no update on Ohio gun owner Fred Vankirk’s similar New York City gun case
January 12, 2012:
According to the New York Post, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is discussing a deal with Meredith Graves’s attorney which would allow her to avoid prison time entirely.
Update: Tennessee threatens to retaliate
January 4, 2012: This wasn’t one of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s finer moments: He told reporters last week that even if Meredith Graves hadn’t been “caught” with a gun, she “would have been arrested for the cocaine that was in her pocket.”
Even setting aside the logical flaw — nobody would have been searching Graves’s pocket if she hadn’t been arrested — Bloomberg might have waited until he knew the white powder in the two small bags in Graves’s pocket actually contained cocaine — rather than, as she’d insisted, and as toxicology reports confirmed Tuesday, crushed aspirin for her migraines.
The gun possession charge remains in place, of course, and Graves is due back in court on March 19.
Original Article: Meredith Graves, a 39-year-old Tennessee woman, has been arrested for trying to carry a gun into New York City’s 9/11 Memorial. Except that she did nothing of the sort.
Though you wouldn’t know it from the local headlines, the opposite is closer to the truth: Graves has a Tennessee carry permit and drove up to New York with a loaded .32 caliber pistol in her purse, not realizing that New York authorities would have a problem with this.
Let’s stipulate here that this was a fairly stupid assumption — though it should also be the obligation of any state issuing carry permits to make sure that applicants understand that the permits are only valid within the state.
She visited the site on December 22. She got to the memorial’s entrance, noticed the “No Guns Allowed” sign, and casually asked a guard where she could check her gun.
The guard, assuming by her demeanor that she was a law enforcement officer (thereby authorized to carry firearms), directed her to a special entrance for law enforcement officers. When she explained at that entrance that she was not a law enforcement officer, she was handcuffed, arrested, and charged with felony gun possession — and the Manhattan DA’s Office intends to prosecute her on this charge, which carries a minimum sentence of 3½ years (she’s been freed on $2000 bond, and is due back in court on March 19).
Now, I’ve been pretty clear about my opposition to the Interstate Handgun Carry Reciprocity Bill — which perhaps Graves thought was already in effect — and she did break the law, of which ignorance is not an excuse. But… there was no criminal intent here, and the draconian prosecution seems to be based in part on the perception that Graves was trying to bring the gun into the memorial, which the DA’s Office knows not to be true.
Graves should be fined. Her gun should be confiscated (well, they certainly can’t give it back to her and let her carry it out of Manhattan now, can they?). Put her on probation, make her film a public service announcement for Tennessee television warning her fellow Tennesseeans not to carry their guns out of state… but prosecuting her for a felony, and seeking a multi-year prison term? Save that for the criminals.
That’s my opinion, anyway. And yours?
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© 2012 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.