The co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Mark J. Meckler, 49, was arrested at La Guardia Airport in NYC this past Thursday for doing what many thought was the right thing.
Before for Mr. Meckler bordered his Delta flight to Detriot he disclosed to the ticketing agent that he had a locked box, which contained a Glock pistol (Model 27) and 19 rounds of ammunition, in his luggage.
Following protocol, the agent immediately alerted police, said Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Port Authority police.
The police then arrested Meckler and charged him with possession of a concealed weapon in the second degree, which can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
Mr. Meckler, a law-abiding citizen who has a concealed carry permit in California, “told authorities that he had the pistol because he gets threats,” according to the office.
But Mr. Della Fave pointed out to the NY Times, “Unfortunately for Mr. Meckler, he thought he was good to go because he has a carry permit in California, but that does not cover New York. Folks who want to carry a firearm on a flight have to do their homework.”
The gun was not loaded, but “it just as well may have been, as the ammo was right there, accessible,” Mr. Della Fave said.
After spending a good portion of the day in jail, Mr. Meckler was released pending a Jan. 12 court date.
Meckler’s lawyer, Brian Stapleton, said in a statement “While in temporary transit through the state of New York in possession of an unloaded, lawful firearm that was locked in a [Transportation Security Administration]-approved safe, he legally declared his possession of the firearm in his checked baggage at the ticket counter as required by law and in a manner approved by TSA and the airline, yet was arrested by port authority for said possession.”
According to legal analysts, Mr. Meckler will probably serve no jail time, but will get hit with a hefty fine.
We’ll keep you posted on this case.