It certainly appears that Meckler was trying to comply with the law. Criminals intent upon wrongdoing usually don’t declare securely cased firearms at a ticket counter. However, ignorance of the law has never been a valid defense. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown stressed that point to the press:
Before leaving home, passengers should acquaint themselves with the weapon laws of the jurisdiction that they are visiting and comply with any and all legal requirements if they choose to travel with a weapon.
That is prudent advice. However, the question remains whether such a scenario serves the purpose of law. After all, whose rights did Meckler violate? Through what process was his character transmuted from unvarnished to criminal when he crossed the border into New York? Whether he violated New York statutes is a separate question from whether those laws are just.
Indeed, what happened to Meckler could easily happen to anyone who is not fully versed in the minutia of each state’s gun laws. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has as one of its legislative priorities an effort to increase reciprocity between the several states in respect to permits to carry, much as there is reciprocity in respect to licenses to drive. They offer a “Guide to Right-to-Carry Reciprocity and Recognition” which is an effort to shed light on the gun laws affecting interstate travel. However, they note an inability to keep up with fickle bureaucracies:
[Gun law in the] various states is subject to frequent change through legislative action and regulatory interpretation. … This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law.
Question: How can a person be expected to comply with laws which are “subject to frequent change?” Naturally, they can’t. Such is a tyranny of law.
There is an astounding double standard applied to this issue by the Left. On the one hand, they concoct “constitutional rights” out of whole cloth, citing “penumbras” and “emanations” rather than plain language. They demand state law conform to those rights which they imagine. Yet, in the case of the Second Amendment, they ignore its plain language and approve legislation at any level which defies it.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds on an issue like this and start arguing case law and constitutional history. However, the bottom line is quite simple. We have the inalienable right to keep and bear arms. We have the inalienable right to protect ourselves. Government ought not infringe upon that right. Without question, the effect of the current web of contradictory gun laws “subject to frequent change” is the infringement of otherwise law-abiding citizens’ rights. It’s high time we took a look at the mess and ask ourselves who we are protecting and from what.