December 29, 2011

LIFE AMONG THE BARBARIANS: Tennessee tourist arrested for bringing pistol into 9/11 Memorial.

A tourist from Tennessee waltzed into one of the most secure sites in the city — and politely asked a cop if she could check her weapon.

Instead, she was dragged out in cuffs.

Now, Meredith Graves, 39, is facing at least three years in prison for thinking New York’s gun laws are anything like those in the Bible Belt.

Graves, a fourth-year medical student, showed up at the memorial on Dec. 22 to pay her respects during a trip north for a job interview.

She didn’t realize that the loaded .32-caliber pistol in her purse would be a problem until she saw a sign at the site that read, “No guns allowed,” sources said. “She remembered she had the gun on her,” a source said. She walked up to a security guard and said, “I have this gun. Where can I check it?”

Under Mayor Bloomberg, New York’s nothing like the Bible Belt, of course — it’s much less civilized and much more repressive.. And just like black people visiting the South in the 1930s, gun owners today need to realize that irrational prejudice and legal persecution are a risk when visiting these benighted places. This is why we need national civil rights laws to protect gun owners wherever they go. This is a topic I discuss in my Second Amendment Penumbras piece, forthcoming in the Southern California Law Review. I also note that a patchwork of confusing (often even to law enforcement) and overlapping laws regulating the exercise of a fundamental right is a burden on the constitutionally recognized right to interstate travel. At the very least, they should warn you when you’re entering a repressive regime.

UPDATE: Reader Mark Kaulius writes: “Perhaps a boycott by all gun owners of New York is called for.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Rob Crawford emails: “What’s the purpose of the no guns sign at the Memorial? Shouldn’t the sign be posted at the state border?”