Earlier this month, Tea Party Patriots leader Mark Meckler was arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon in New York. I received a number of calls and emails about that. Some were because the people know how much Mark Meckler and I do not like each other and some were because they knew I spent most of my adult life working as either a prosecutor or a criminal defense lawyer.
I have specifically refused to blog on the story of his arrest and am not going to comment on it now. But it is a very good warning for conservatives.
Conservatives are much more likely than others to exercise their Constitutional rights and unfortunately this can sometimes lead to trouble. Some states like Arizona allow open carry or as I like to call it, “Constitutional carry.” Other states like California and New York have all but repealed the Second Amendment.
Over the years, I have handled several cases where someone tried to bring a firearm onto an airplane. In most instances, it was a simple mistake. They were unaware the firearm was in the luggage.
Unfortunately, when you are dealing with the Feds, this is a strict liability offense. What that means in plain, non-lawyer English is that it does not matter that you were not aware the firearm was in your luggage, you are responsible.
Fortunately most firearms violations are not prosecuted under Federal law. Most of the time, these cases are referred to the local prosecutor and in many states this offense is only a misdemeanor. If you are caught, the Feds will hit you with a civil penalty of several thousand dollars and then you will have to face the criminal charge.
If you have a weapon, you are responsible for it.
If you are traveling, check your luggage before you leave. When I travel, I always completely empty my luggage on my return and pack everything myself. I also treat several of my bags as “sterile” bags, meaning nothing that could even be considered a weapon EVER goes into those bags.
If you are traveling to another state, even if you have a concealed carry permit in your state, you may not be allowed to carry in your destination state. Again, it is your responsibility to find out what the local laws are. Some states prohibit certain types of knifes and other things such as clubs, tactical batons and even chemical sprays.
Christmas Eve is tomorrow and many of us will be traveling to be with family. None of us will be singing, all I want for Christmas is to make bond!
The firearms law in New York State has been around for a long time. When I was assigned to 42nd MP Gp (Customs) in Germany we advised service members when returning to the US not to bring their firearms with them if they were to travel to JFK airport, even if it were a transfer as New York prohibited firearms and still does so. This was during the late 1970's.
NY Sullivan Act of 1911 prohibited a number of items including "concealable" firearms.
My understanding about NY and many states like them is that they believe that we do not have the right to defend ourselves, hence the NY Sullivan Act of 1911 you mentioned and other like laws.
That is the typical socialist style rationalization (and distortion of Natural Law) but the Rat Fink who pushed that Sullivan Law through was just a crooked politician. He wanted to prevent getting a .38 caliber lobotomy, a brass knuckle face lift, and/or a stilletto through his neck after stealing New Yorkers blind.
In recent years, I looked at the fed. Dept. of Transportation website and was told a butter knife was allowed. I had found an old Eastern Airlines dull metal butter knife (from an earlier decade) and took it on a trip. The man checking my luggage asked me some questions then took it out and said it was illegal. Fortunately, he just confiscated it and didn't treat me as a potential terrorist.
I also don't bring along even nail clippers when I fly. They can be bought in a newstand or convenience store when I land somewhere.