The New York Post has an article calling for a more common sense approach to New York's gun laws when tourists are involved. The article, entitled Common Sense on Guns makes a point that when so many states now have shall issue concealed carry laws, people who have no criminal intent (mens rea) are likely to show up carrying guns for self defense from time to time. That being the case, perhaps New Yorkers should stop panicking and throwing the book at them, as they appear to be doing to Tennessee medical school student Meredith Graves. Graves visited the 9/11 memorial over the holidays, noticed the gun free zone sign at the entrance, and asked a security officer where she could check her gun. Graves is a permit holder in Tennessee. The security guard promptly called police who arrested her.
I feel sympathy for Ms. Graves, I really do. New York City gun laws are irredeemably unjust, and as these fine criminal defense attorneys explain, they don't even obey Federal law that protects travelers merely transiting through their airports. New Yorkers seem to take their gun control very seriously, and ignorance of their laws does not let you off the hook.
Fortunately, there are ways to find out about the laws of any state you may be traveling through. Your first stop should be Handgun Laws US. The keeping of this information is done by volunteers, but the information for my state, North Carolina, seems up to date. Looking at NYC, we see that New York City does not honor any other state permit, including New York State without a NYC endorsement. Then, there are the Attorney Generals of the various states. I have to admit that the New York State Attorney General's web site doesn't seem to mention guns anywhere, but that might just be a clue.
New York's gun control law is called the the Sullivan Act, named after a notorious Irish mobster, New York State Senator, and influence peddler in the corrupt Democrat machine known as Tammany Hall. Around the time of its passage, in 1911, the Italian mafiosi were taking over from the Jewish and Irish mobs. The Italians would shoot first, and ask questions later, if at all. So, to disarm them, Sullivan got his law passed. It didn't work, of course. The criminal element, the Irish and Jewish mobs and the mafiosi, ignored the law. The people who were disarmed were the peaceable citizens. The sordid history of laws like the Sullivan Act, or of laws that sought the disarmament of the black community in the South should cause considerable soul searching for anyone advocating for more of these laws. Gun control laws don't end violence, they merely embolden the criminals among us. And they catch people like Meredith Graves, who wasn't going to shoot anybody.
Update: National Review Online had an opinion piece by Robert VerBruggen. VerBruggans opinion is that Graves should rot in prison. NRO is a New York City publication. What fascinated me, though, were the comments, many of them well argued. Jeff Knox even makes an appearance. Go and take a look.