Monday, January 2, 2012

- Meredith Graves, Meet Mike Bloomberg

The laws concerning concealed carry of a firearm are a jumble, and there has been some very timely confusion of this issue recently. While a law which will use federal authority to 'force' states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states is working it's way through the congress, a pretty 39 year old medical student from Tennesee has been arrested for trying to check her legally owned firearm while visiting the 9-11 memorial.

In New Jersey, where it is expressly illegal to be in possession of a firearm except under very limited and specifically defined circumstances, we in the firearms community have no choice but to have an understanding of the law. What's more, the laws were written to be ambiguous - giving maximum legal flexibility to the arresting officer and prosecuting attorney. So we not only need to know the law, but we need to know how the law is 'likely' to be enforced.

But in the rest of the country that isn't the case at all. In fact, in the vast majority of the United States they feel that 'shall not be infringed' actually means what it says, and that law enforcement is there to protect the law abiding, not punish them. The Net result is that a great many firearm owners who live in other parts of the country don't realize that in this part of the country, firearms are almost completely illegal.

Meredith Graves didn't know it. And because this obviously law abiding woman wasn't a better lawyer and more familiar with the various ins and outs of New York City's laws concerning firearm ownership, she's very likely going to spend three plus years in the NY penitentiary system.

Personally, I tend to view stories like this with suspicion. Ms. Graves is an attractive woman who was so obviously without criminal intent that even anti-gun politicians in New York are saying so. As such, I think she'll illicit much sympathy from a jury. And she'll also make an appealing example of someone being unjustly treated by the current law - underlining the need for the new concealed carry reciprocity act. This was all so obvious that I instantly suspected a setup.

But facing three years in prison if convicted is a big chance to take to prove a point. And after hearing how she tried to check her gun before going into the memorial, I tend to believe that she was just a foolish woman who was under the mistaken impression that law enforcement in the greater New York City area is there to protect people like her.

The map of above indicates that NY, NJ, California and a few others all fall under the description of 'may issue' with regard to carry permits. The long and short of that is that's it's at the discretion of the issuing authority, whether you are allowed to carry a concealed firearm. In New York City, that means that you must be famous, well connected politically, or be a big political contributor. In New Jersey it's simply a disguise for a procedural ban.

But if the concealed carry reciprocity act goes through (and I'm hearing that it may actually do just that), then in a place like New Jersey where no permits are ever issued, people from other states will be able to carry their firearms here, while New Jersey citizens will not. So it will be a great way to pressure the local legislature.

Bloomberg and the few remaining anti-gun politicians out there are on the losing side of history. The law will change eventually, I'm convinced of it. The only question now is, will it change fast enough to keep Meredith Graves out of prison.


frithguild said...

I now see a striking resemblance between Mike Bloomberg and Chewy Ejiofor.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there is a defense fund set up for her?

Anonymous said...

Betcha dollars to (Dunkin) donuts this thing gets squashed. The City is going to come off looking like the A-holes they are, the NRA is going to have a field day and her home town will probably throw a parade in her honor.
While America has become an increasingly urban, urbane and liberal country in the last two decades, there seems to be a real turn around on the 2nd amendment issue and people are embracing it.
Watching the satellite TV over the holidays and the number of gun programs out there is evidence I think that this country loves its guns...'Sons of Guns", "Triggers", Military Channel, History Channel, and commensurate legislation for both LEO's and now civilians to allow for reciprocity carriage laws... at least something is going right!

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

If this bill goes through, I might consider changing my residency back to Vermont.

Tom said...

So long as you continue to pay your NJ taxes, I don't think they'll mind. For the record that's my plan too. Florida address, Florida driver's license, Florida Carry permit, and NJ tax liability.

Of course - NJ being NJ, they'll probably come u with some special penalty to ensure that we remain second class subjects.... eh...citizens.

Matt H said...

It's strikingly similar to this story about the marine. Did these people visit the same web site?

Bottom line, the lesson is if you ever realize you have a gun in a place that doesn't allow it, don't tell anyone! STFU and GTFO!

One other thing, and this is a question for any NY/NJ area folks who might be reading: is there a layer of sarcasm I'm missing in the writing of the NY Post piece? I understand the culture up there is hysterically gun-phobic, but even so, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the writer's apparent gleeful vindictiveness at the prospect of 3.5 years in prison at taxpayer expense for relatively harmless naïveté.

Tom said...

Yeah - I wonder why they didn't hang the 'no guns allowed' sign at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel and save the poor woman some hassle?

Matt H said...

On second thought, I might be reading a bit too much into the tone. Still, I'm irked by the inclusion of the bit about the murdered NYPD cop, as if Meredith Graves had something to do with it.

I'm similarly irked at how the AP story about the Mt. Rainier park shooting mentions the change to the law about carrying guns in national parks, as if murdering a ranger weren't illegal enough.

Matt H said...

You're on the right track about the Holland Tunnel, but even by then it could be too late. The sign really needs to be back at all Deleware river crossings. Maybe a sign like the one on the right: