The ex-Marine busted for trying to check his Indiana-registered gun at the Empire State Building got a no-jail, misdemeanor deal yesterday.
“I definitely did not know it was illegal to bring a gun into New York City,” Ryan Jerome, 29, of South Bend, said after pleading guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court, one day after nurse Meredith Graves agreed to a similar deal for trying to check her Tennessee-registered gun at the 9/11 Memorial.
Jerome had insisted he checked a gun-law reciprocity site on his smartphone, but a formatting error made it look like Indiana-registered guns are OK in New York, rather than the other way around.
“As far as Indiana goes, everybody’s grandma’s got a gun,” he joked yesterday.Jerome and Graves were initially charged with felony weapons possession, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years in prison.
OK, I don't think the "everybody's grandma's got a gun" argument really would hold up as defense in court, but I am glad this guy didn't get punished too hard facing NYC draconian laws against private ownership of handguns...unless you know somebody high up in city government of course.
You may recall reading that Jerome went to NYC carrying a large sum of cash for business and carried a pistol for protection. He went to the Empire State Building and attempted to ask the security guards to watch the weapon for him before he went into the building. A couple of things seemed off about this to me...
- I know ignorance of the law is rarely ever a proper excuse, but in this case you are a gun toting citizen from Indiana where "everybody's grandma's got a gun" and don't know about NYC and its very anti-2A mayor's stance on the issue of CCW and their laws? Really? Even checking on his smartphone (whichever site he was one probably only listed state recipriocity agreements and didn't take into consideration local laws in NYC anyway) he should of known the legal risk carrying.
- In what building anywhere else have you ever been able to just walk up and hand over a hand gun like you are at a coat check....unless you are a LEO going into a facility that does not allow them and check them with another LEO entity of course? I have never come across this and would not think of doing so otherwise.
I am sure Ryan Jerome is a good guy, but just didn't use proper judgement in this case. It can happen to any of us under the right circumstances. I am in no way defending NYC's assault on our right to carry...but if we give them a stream of people violating their laws they will just see that as a validation of having them in the first place. Again, the fact that licensed and responsible people carry worries them, while they will ignore the fact that criminals have them anyway.