Former Marine tail gunner Ryan Jerome, 28, went to New York City for a business trip. He was there to sell $15,000 worth of gold for his jewelry business. Due to the inherent danger of transporting thousands of dollars worth of fine jewelry, Jerome brought his handgun.
During his trip to the Big Apple, Jerome figured he would do a little sightseeing. So he visited the Empire State Building. When he arrived, he asked the security officer where he should check his sidearm.
Without hesitation, the security guard called the police. Jerome was arrested on the spot. He spent the next two days in jail.
This was a shock to Jerome. As a law-abiding gun owner with a valid concealed carry permit in Indiana, he was under the impression he was obeying the law. He even looked into the laws via an online website before he left for NYC.
“If I had known, I never would have brought that gun with me, no matter how much gold I had,” Jerome told The Post.
“I always check the gun laws. I assumed I was good to go, he added.”
As it turns out, the information he researched was inaccurate. But as his attorney, Mark Bederow, pointed out, the laws in New York are super strict.
“The law itself is clear,” he said, “if you knowingly possess a loaded firearm in New York, then you are technically guilty of a serious crime. The fact that somebody in another state has a valid concealed carry permit is, legally speaking, irrelevant in New York.”
Now Jerome, who was charged with felony weapon possession, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three and half years in prison. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced up to fifteen years.
Bederow provided additional clarification, “If he does get indicted, and they want to give him something less, then the legal minimum would be two years,” he told the NY Post. “They couldn’t even offer less if they wanted to.
In response to his bleak outlook, Jerome was duly discouraged.
“I’ve been a law-abiding citizen my entire life, and for something like this to come down, it rips me apart,” he said. “It’s like taking a good dog and scolding him for something he didn’t do.”
Jerome, who has a clean record, told the Post a felony conviction could mean the loss of his business license.
As it’s been noted, Jerome isn’t the only out-of-state visitor who’s been blindsided by New York’s tough and unforgiving gun laws. A few weeks ago, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler was arrested at the airport for attempting to check in his pistol.