Stossel: NYC Government Traumatizes Gun Owners

Stossel: NYC Government Traumatizes Gun Owners


Have a gun license? Plan to bring your gun to my home town next time you fly in? “Pack all unloaded firearm and firearm parts in a locked hard-sided container.” If you call the TSA, they will tell you to put the gun in a locked container and: “notify the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.” But even if you do this properly, New York authorities will still wreck your life. I declared my gun, because I always do. I travel, I fly in and out all over the US with it. Patricia Jordan carries her gun for protection. She correctly followed all the TSA procedures when she flew from her home in Georgia to New York City. It’s in the TSA case, everything’s separate. It’s locked. She was traveling with three teenage girls, and wanted her gun in her hotel room. I know that if something happens that I can protect myself. I was glad that she brought it just in case something did happen. On their way home, Patricia did everything correctly again. The airline counter she again told the agent she wanted to check her gun. But this time she was told, “Wait.” The next thing I know they’re getting ready to arrest me. For what exactly? For having a gun. I thought I was going to pass out, I really did. I have my permit. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to right. Of course I started freaking out. She sat there and begged the lady, “Please don’t arrest my mom, please don’t arrest my mom.” She’s like crying, begging her not to take me. The police put Patricia in jail and told her, you’ve committed a felony. The minimum was 3 and a half to 7 years mandatory prison for this. Another visitor, Avi Wolf was jailed just for having a gun part, an empty magazine. There were no bullets? It was just something like this? It was exactly like that. Instead of a plastic exterior mine had a little bit of a different make to it but it was exactly that. Somebody could’ve done more damage to an individual with a fork from McDonald’s than with that. Wolf too checked with the TSA beforehand. They told him, just declare it to TSA agents at security. I telling them that, just a notification I have a magazine here. It’s empty, there’s no bullets, there’s no gunpowder. You know, I called TSA before doing it, and this is what they told me to do, to declare it. The next thing I know they’re pulling me over to the side and they’re all like Do you know what you have in your bag? And I’m like, I know what I have in my bag, I told you what I have in my bag. Fast forward about an hour and it was 4 Port Authority police officers were there, the chief of LaGuardia airport is there. Like, I mean, they thought they found somebody trying to do 9/11 repeat. For this? Literally. For that. They asked me if I had a gun license. Of course I had a gun license. I’m from Georgia, everybody there’s got a gun license. And they’re like, well sir, you’re going to be getting arrested now. I’m like, oh, no. The other prisoners couldn’t believe why Avi was in jail. One guy beat up his wife, this other guy was busted for a whole bunch of drugs. So they’re like, what did you do? Why are you here? It’s like I got caught at security with an empty magazine. What did they say? Just laughed at me; like it was a joke. But it was no joke. Avi and Patricia were released after a day in jail. But they still faced that felony charge. I could barely function, I had to get on like anxiety medicine. I was throwing up every day. Months later, New York allowed each to plead guilty to a lesser charge: public disorder. But it cost each $15,000 in legal fees. Why does New York City do this to people? They need to spend a day in jail? We get them through the system as quick as we can. District Attorney Jack Ryan handles New York airport gun charges. We are not going to apologize for enforcing our gun laws. We do enforce them fairly and humanely and as compassionately as we can. Is it a fair system when it costs them, 15, 17 thousand dollars and they spend a day in jail? It’s as fair as we can make it under all of those circumstances. Even in Avi’s case? It’s an empty piece of plastic. Whether the magazine is made out of plastic, Kevlar, or metal I think is immaterial to make a question of how many bullets it holds. That’s why New York has banned them. Isn’t what’s material is whether it held any bullets? It didn’t. It was empty. You can discuss that with the legislature. They didn’t make it a crime only if there’s bullets in it. They made it a crime. Patricia had carefully separated her gun from her bullets. The officer could not even find my bullets in my suitcase; I had to stop and go show him where they were. But yet they said that this was considered a loaded weapon in New York. Under New York law if they’re together they’re loaded. And so we have prosecuted a number of those cases. They are loaded even if they’re not loaded? If the weapon and the ammunition are together they’re loaded. Most every week, New York jails someone who innocently travels with a gun, legally licensed in their state. These are people who are trying to do everything right. They go onto the TSA website, they follow the regulations to fly with their gun. They go on the airline website and they follow the regulations to properly fly with their gun. And then New York jails them. You’re a sadistic bully locking these people up. These aren’t threats We know they’re not threats after we check them out. We do not know who they are when we first talk to them. Give me a break. Prosecutors have discretion; they could be reasonable with these poor people who had no idea that they’d violated New York’s strange laws. But New York politicians don’t want you to have a gun. So they will put you in jail to send everyone a message.