Friday, December 16, 2011

Federal Law Ignored in Mark Meckler's Arrest?

OK, folks, so yesterday I shared the story about Mark Meckler being arrested in New York’s LaGuardia airport for possessing a firearm and ammo in a locked case...while declaring it to the check-in agent. Gun and ammo in locked case = good enough for the TSA...class C felony with New York Port Authority.

And something about all this just seemed off. So off to Google I go...and one, yes, just one, search of “New York Gun Laws About Transporting Firearms” led me to this very helpful link at the NRA where I read the following...

“...A provision of the federal law known as the Firearms Owners` Protection Act, or FOPA, protects those who are transporting firearms for lawful purposes from local restrictions which would otherwise prohibit passage....

...Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach...”

Really!!? I’ve been a gun owner for years and didn’t know this FEDERAL protection existed (not that we take firearms over state lines regularly).

The good folks at the NRA also include this helpful tip...

“...Special Advisory for New York and New Jersey Airports: Despite federal law that protects travelers, authorities at JFK, La Guardia, Newark and Albany airports have been known to enforce state and local firearms laws against airline travelers who are merely passing through the jurisdiction. In some cases, even persons traveling in full compliance with federal law have been arrested or threatened with arrest...”

Let me see if I have this straight...New York and New Jersey law enforcement agencies think its ok to thumb their noses at Federal law protecting civil liberties.
But wait! There’s more...

“...some state and local governments treat this federal provision as an "affirmative defense" that may only be raised after an arrest... “

So lets recap. Federal law exists to protect travelers in ‘temporary transit” with firearms from local gun laws as long as a weapon is locked and out of reach. New York Port Authority police have an alleged pattern of arresting travelers anyway...including Mark Meckler...all the while knowing the charges won’t hold. Hmm.

Might scare law abiding citizens from lawfully transporting a firearm through New York to avoid the hassle. Wonder how this is going to go over now that they’ve tried to bully a full-time activist who earns a living promoting Constitutional Liberties?

Oh, and one more thing...notice that NONE of the news agencies are talking about the Firearms Owners Protection Act...not one. I’m a housewife with a slow satellite connection, kids spun up on Christmas and a sinus infection, if I can find this info in two minutes I have to wonder what the hell is going on in these news rooms.

P.S. The lovely and talented LaDonna Harvey of San Diego’s KOGO 95.7FM and AM600 interviewed me today on this very topic. I’m pretty hopped up on cold meds, but I think the general idea comes across. PODCAST HERE

UPDATE: Big shout out to the Goddess at Temple of Mut for sharing the story and with her usual wit, pointing out that if CA is Hell, NY is Hell's Toilet. B-Daddy at The Liberator Today elegantly channels the late great Christopher Hitchens by summing up this whole sorted business in a few choice sentences. Another Goddess of the airwaves, Tammy Bruce also weighed in on the Meckler arrest yesterday.

7 comments:

Doo Doo Econ said...

Good job getting to the core of this issue!

Ema Nymton said...

.

Not to put a too sharp of a point on this, but ...

Is this not a question of 'states'' rights? Are not you (along with NRA) one who has been pushing that the 'big bad federal' gomment is over-reaching with gun laws?

Are you trying to have it both ways? You want the federal gomment to tell the state what _you_ want to hear but then you don't want gomment to tell you what you do not want to hear?

Talk about silly pretzel logic...

Ema Nymton
~@:o?
.

SarahB said...

Ema, you raise a very valid question. The most important principle for the Tea Party is to protect personal Liberty (second is fiscal responsibility)...protecting the Bill of Rights is the priority...including the Second Amendement. We want protect a state's right to regulate it's resources and services without interfearance from the Federal government. But no state has the right to take away someone's right to speak freely, etc.

Christopher J Hoffman said...

FOPA only protects firearms owner who are traveling directly through a jurisdiction IF the firearm is legal to have at both the origin and the destination. By his own admission, Meckler spent 4 days in NY City. There will be no FOPA defense available to him.

There is currently no legal path for an otherwise law abiding citizen, who is NOT a NY resident, to even possess a handgun in the State of NY. It's an effective ban that will ultimately fail any level of judicial and constitutional scrutiny, but as of now, it is the law.

Christopher J Hoffman said...

FOPA only protects firearms owner who are traveling directly through a jurisdiction IF the firearm is legal to have at both the origin and the destination. By his own admission, Meckler spent 4 days in NY City. There will be no FOPA defense available to him.

There is currently no legal path for an otherwise law abiding citizen, who is NOT a NY resident, to even possess a handgun in the State of NY. It's an effective ban that will ultimately fail any level of judicial and constitutional scrutiny, but as of now, it is the law.

SarahB said...

Christopher, based on the limited info on hand, the FOPA defence is just my theory on how Meckler will defend himself. Hadn't heard about his multi-night stay in NY. However, one thing I know about him after years of unexpected legal quandries, he's very, very smart & informed and 99,9% of the time knows exactly what he's doing. Don't be surprised if he still has something(s) up his sleeve. But if in fact he was wandering through the state in sloppy ignorance, I'll be the first one to swat him on the nose for being negligent with the Tea Party image.

Christopher King said...

Hey man:

http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/2012/01/kingcast-and-brian-stapleton-ask-why_25.html

25 JANUARY 2012

KingCast and Brian Stapleton ask "Why did the Feds care so much about Mark Meckler as they continue to give Greg Floyd a pass on repeated 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1) violations?"