The role of legislators in a free society is not to make law, but to discover it. The “laws of Nature and Nature’s God” are not crafted by men, and ought to both supersede and underlie our civil decrees. Indeed, that is the root of the Declaration of Independence. Men have rights, and their government ought to proceed from those rights and secure them.
Such lofty notions are frequently lost in our modern political discourse, where the craft of law has become social engineering, saving us from ourselves. In such an environment, it is inevitable that we should arrive at a tyranny of law, where the web of bureaucracy and regulation is so intricate, tangled, and sticky that every man becomes a criminal in one way or another regardless of his character or conduct.
So may be the case with Tea Party Patriots co-founder and national coordinator Mark Meckler, who was arrested last week at LaGuardia Airport by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on a felony firearms charge. There are conflicting reports regarding precisely what happened. However, no one is accusing Meckler of endangering anyone or harboring criminal intent. It appears he may have unwittingly broken the law.
An official statement since released to the press was initially sent to Tea Party Patriots state coordinators in an email. It stated that Meckler holds a permit to carry from his home state of California:
While in temporary transit through the state of New York in possession of an unloaded, lawful firearm that was locked in a TSA-approved safe, [Meckler] 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.
The California permit is not recognized in New York, a state which heavily restricts firearm possession. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, which issued the permit to Meckler, has suspended it pending the outcome of the criminal charge. That charge could carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. However, CBS News reports that “travelers who are arrested in such cases and appear to be trying to comply with the law typically pay fines.”