Firearm Carry Laws Are Too Confusing

Three separate incidents in NYC this week:

A Tennessee tourist who says she unwittingly broke New York’s weapons laws by visiting the 9/11 memorial with a loaded gun — legal in her home state – faces 3 1/2 years behind bars for the error, which came to light when she asked guards where she could store her weapon while touring the memorial.

Full Story – L.A. Times

A former U.S. Marine Ryan Jerome, 28, was charged with criminal possession of his .45-caliber Ruger while visiting the famous New York landmark during a September vacation with his girlfriend. Jerome has a license to carry the weapon from his home state of Indiana, but New Yorks state gun laws do not recognize out-of-state permits.

Full Story – CNN

A Virginia man claimed to be a Navy SEAL to talk his way out of a gun possession arrest on Thursday, and the New York Police Department committed him to a psych ward thinking his claims of elite military status were the rantings of a lunatic.

Full Story – Yahoo

Now I know what some of your are thinking:  How stupid are those first two people?  They actually thought that carrying a firearm would be allowed at either of those locations in a post 9/11 world?   Part of me agrees, but the other part realizes how ridiculous the whole state permit system with differing reciprocity is.

Firearms law in general is very convoluted.   Throw in the fact that some laws blanket every state at the federal level, and yet others are made state to state, and on top of that rules often change when leaving your home state… and you got a real mess.   What I would like to see is unrestricted carry of any type being passed by the federal government.  That would completely eliminate the chance of doing time for a simple misunderstanding , but I realize that is most likely wishful thinking.  I say this time and time again, but here it goes once more… criminals do not care what the law says, they will carry a gun if they want to carry one.  Restricting carry and throwing tourists in jail because of a misunderstanding does nothing to make the world a better place.

How would you solve this problem?

Hat tip: Steven, Frank, McKay

29 COMMENTS - JUMP DOWN ↓ TO ADD YOUR OWN

McKay January 25, 2012 at 12:05 am
ENDO-Mike January 25, 2012 at 12:12 am

nice, thanks! I updated the post and included you in the Hat tip.

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McKay January 25, 2012 at 12:14 am

Awesome, happy to share that.

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Vhyrus January 25, 2012 at 12:29 am

Fuck
New
York

Yes yes 9/11 terrorists hero cops great firefighters blah blah blah FIX YOUR MOTHERFUCKING GOVERNMENT! New York City has 35 THOUSAND cops. That is more than twice as many as the FBI! (Coincidentally, I learned that today from reading ‘Glock: America’s Gun’ that I won from this site. Thanks Mike!) and yet it’s still not enough. Maybe if you fix your laws and let people defend themselves you wont have little old ladies getting BURNED ALIVE in Brooklyn elevators.

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pat January 25, 2012 at 07:44 pm

I don’t really follow your line of thinking. The little old lady should have had a gun?

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Jeff January 25, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Yeah, he’s referring to an incident where a woman was doused with lighter fluid and had a molotov cocktail thrown at her.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/nyregion/woman-burned-alive-in-brooklyn-elevator.html

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ENDO-Mike January 26, 2012 at 01:09 pm

wow that’s a lot of cops! You tied into that book quick! Good to hear it’s getting use.

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bigghoss January 25, 2012 at 12:40 am

I’m on the fence about a federal law for national reciprocity. Sure being able to get one permit and carry in any state is nice, but I don’t agree with having to get a permit in the first place if you can pass the background check to buy the gun. So the guberment telling states to honor carry permits is them saying it’s ok to require carry permits and the ridiculous requirements that sometimes go with getting them. But a reciprocity law is probably the best I can hope for so I’ll take it IF I can get it, which doesn’t seem too likely either.

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The Juno January 25, 2012 at 01:35 am

Much as I don’t want to be assailed with arrows …

States have the right to set laws within their own borders. And states also have a right to have laws that are more strict than the federal ones, at least in the case of guns (so far).

If Californians or New Yorkers are tired of being dumped on with gun rights that basically equal no gun rights at all, then the citizens of those states need to rise up and elect legislators who are going to get them the gun rights they want. And while I don’t like saying this, groups that are outside of those states should stay the hell out of the issue. It’s an issue for that state and its citizens, not those of other states or of national organizations.

If, however, the Supreme Court finds that there’s a right to self-defense (not just home defense) that can be interpreted in the Second Amendment of the Constitution … well then, that makes things much simpler!

tl;dr: States rights unless the Constitution says/is interpreted to say otherwise.

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Vhyrus January 25, 2012 at 01:52 am

The states rights argument is one that is constantly being used to defend fucked up gun laws, and it is fundamentally flawed and completely wrong. Allow me to demonstrate:

All amendments are created equal, are they not? The second amendment is no different in design and function from the fourth or the fifteenth or even the first amendment. So that means if the states can ignore the second amendment (if you can’t own guns as a private citizen that is ignoring the second amendment) then that means the first amendment can be ignored just as easily, correct? New York City could kick out jews or ban rap music using the exact same principles, since it is completely legal to have a state law that is more restrictive than a federal one.

Obviously they cannot, and the law would be repealed before the ink in the book finished drying. If they can’t bend the other amendments so easily than the infringements of the second are just as illegal.

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The Juno January 25, 2012 at 02:17 am

You’re right — yet not.

Jurisprudence on the First Amendment, as well as the other big ones in the Bill of Rights, is pretty thorough. New areas are explored and precedents are sometimes tweaked or reversed, but still, issues of free speech, due process and equal rights have been very well argued before the Supreme Court. We know that New York City cannot do any of that stuff you suggest, because their law would be in violation of the minimum rights allotted by the Constitution under various parts of the Bill of Rights.

Jurisprudence on the Second Amendment is NOT well defined. It’s not that states are ignoring it (well, except Illinois now, I think, which I thought was being challenged). They’re just following the minimum of jurisprudence we have here in this country. We don’t have U.S. Supreme Court case law that says “The Second Amendment means you can carry a pistol anywhere you damn well please.” So, under the Ninth Amendment, that means states get the power to say that — or say the opposite. Or say something unintelligible like California. It’s up to them. That’s been a power granted to the states.

That’s why I say that if the Supreme Court rules that the Second Amendment basically says “You can carry a pistol anywhere you damn well please,” then you are right — a state that doesn’t follow such a ruling would be in violation of the Constitution and is open to having its laws overturned by the federal courts as an infringement of a citizen’s rights.

That isn’t the case right now. States have been given free reign, under the Ninth Amendment in essence, to run their own gun laws as they see fit, and rightly so. THAT’S the states’ rights argument and that’s what I stand behind. A state should have the power to do that. And I’m not real keen on the Feds chipping away at that power, especially when I don’t know under what power Congress thinks it can require states hand out concealed pistol licenses.

One thing to point out, though — I don’t know how New York works, but I know in Washington state, cities don’t get to make gun laws. That’s the purview of the state government alone. Seattle got slapped around for banning guns in local parks, I think, and lost at the state courts. I would hope New York works the same way.

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Ed January 25, 2012 at 03:10 am

The same is true in Iowa now thankfully. Iowa law preempts regulation of firearms to the state. No locality such as a city or town or community or what have you may have more restrictive firearms laws than those of the state.

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Ernest Young January 25, 2012 at 08:42 pm

The tenth amendment states that any powers not specifically given to the Federal Government are reserved to the states.

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The Juno January 26, 2012 at 02:27 pm

Wow, am I red-faced. I need to go back to school. Ugh.

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Jon Hutto January 25, 2012 at 06:06 am

The problems you have in New York with illegal guns is not furthered by making every legal gun owner, a criminal.
We are approaching 1 million legal CHL license holders in the US. That means up to 1 in 300 visitors to NYC may be breaking the law.

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Justin January 25, 2012 at 08:28 am

I live in New York state I grew up in a small country town about an hour away from Buffalo. In my county they NEVER EVER issue carry permits. Oh no wait the pistol permit (that takes about a year of jumping through hoops and a couple hundred dollars to get) it says it is a carry permit. My county chooses to imply that that means we can carry while at a shooting range, or carry while hunting (because clearly those are two places we don’t already have firearms). With the same permit one county over you can concealed carry 24/7. My wife works downtown at a company that takes kids from abusive parents and adopts them since she has worked there someone has been shot and nearly killed and someone was stabbed to death simply because of what they do for a living. She works later than everyone else on two nights out of the week, later than the now mandatory armed guard. Funny the state feels this lot is dangerous enough to require an armed guard while at the same time denying citizens the right to protect themselves. She tells me on regular occasion that she doesn’t feel safe there at night. Well lets go through the options: “get a gun” that’t the first thing that comes to anybodies mind. Nope this is New York, by the time she gets a pistol permit (roughly a year) we will have moved from this terrible state, not to mention a pistol permit allows you only to handle a pistol not to conceal one not in this county. “Pepper spray” you think next. Nope this is New York state, any effective pepper spray is illegal. I could go to a gun dealer spend $50 and buy an aerosol pepper spray that is the same as other states resident’s find in the dollar store. Any pepper gel, or pepper spray guns are illegal. “Taser” yeah, right, they thought of that to…illegal. What is left? This sates is ridiculous. All this red tape good citizens are forced through and out of the 10 violent crimes i see on the news every night, 9 of them the bad guy had a handgun. Our lawmakers must really be scratching their heads wondering “how could bad guys be getting handguns?” I love that people sit in their offices and make these laws all the while having a place of worked locked down by armed guards and police officers. They even, on more than a few occasions, get police officers and armed escorts.

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Frank January 25, 2012 at 09:12 am

More info on the Tennessee situation.

General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position – Urges New York to use common sense and sound judgment in disposing of case against Meredith Graves. –

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/HJR0585.pdf
http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=HJR0585

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Grindstone January 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

I figure if I am forbidden from protecting myself and my family somewhere, bar certain circumstances, we don’t have any pressing need to go and spend our tourist money there.

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Mark January 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm

My friends in NY ask me why I don’t spend more time there. I tell them because of stuff like this. They can take that big apple of theirs and shove it. Same goes for Cali.

And that’s a shame, as both places have their positives.

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Josh January 25, 2012 at 01:25 pm

How would you solve this problem?

By requiring an IQ test before issuing a permit to carry. Anyone who thinks that just because it’s legal where they’re from makes it OK in New York City must have been riding the short bus to school.

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Ernest Young January 25, 2012 at 08:45 pm

And then people who do not test well do not get guns?

This sounds to me like “Guns only for the intelligent. Dumb people can die”

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Josh January 25, 2012 at 09:02 pm

And then people who do not test well do not get guns?

I mistakenly thought that people reading my comment would realize that it was not a serious suggestion, but rather a comment on the stupidity of people who think that their permit to carry from their state will be universally accepted everywhere else. I would think that if you’re truly responsible enough to carry a concealed weapon, you should be responsible enough to learn when and where you can carry that weapon.

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Ernest Young January 25, 2012 at 09:04 pm

Hmmm, good point. It went over my head.

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Frank January 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I suppose next, you’ll say only specific races can own firearms too…

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Josh January 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Went over your head too, huh?

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Frank January 26, 2012 at 06:53 am

I live near an airport. :)

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Church January 25, 2012 at 03:21 pm

I’m not going to state an opinion on how the laws should be changed, but I cannot believe that people had no idea they can’t carry in another state… I live in PA and they can barely stop you from getting a CCW and I can carry in 25 states, I know where I can go and where I can’t go… So should everyone else that carrys a gun.

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Jeep January 26, 2012 at 04:58 am

I won’t get involved in the jurisprudence/legal procedure and all this stuff, because I don’t really feel legitimate to (it’s a bit technical, and I’m not living in the States…), but the problem I see in these stories in NY is that they are arresting people who were honestly trying to follow the rules and handing over their pistol at the entrance.

The real issue is that criminals, by definition, don’t abide by the law. Having so strict laws won’t deter them, moreover if they differ from one state to another. Make it impossible to find ANY gun in NY, well they’ll go somewhere else and drive back to Manhattan. There is no customs checking between States, is it?

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Sendarius January 26, 2012 at 09:11 pm

I won’t support the idea of a Federal .gov law regarding guns just because I like the law.

The Federal .gov has NO BUSINESS MAKING GUN LAWS – read the Bill of Rights, paying particular attention to Amendment Two.

I WOULD support repeal of all Federal gun law as unconstitutional – closely followed by repeal of all State gun law for the same reason.

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