Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
Recent news accounts have once again revealed an ugly truth about New York City: Through the adoption and enforcement of Draconian firearms regulations, the Big Apple is rotten to its core for treating a fundamental, constitutionally-protected civil right as a felony.
These laws have recently entrapped a Marine Corps veteran, a female medical student, and the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots organization. Their crime – at least in your jurisdiction – is that they traveled with firearms that are perfectly legal to possess anywhere else in the United States.
Mayor Bloomberg, when you created Mayors Against Illegal Guns, you made it clear that New York style gun laws should apply across the nation. You also claimed your intent was not to infringe on Second Amendment rights, and that your proposals were “moderate.”
Laws that penalize American citizens for exercising a civil right are hardly moderate. They reduce your credibility as a public servant and reinforce your image as a demagogue reigning over a gulag where the Constitution does not apply, and citizens who cross the Hudson River become political prisoners for exercising their rights.
Such nonsense provides the foundation for our latest book Shooting Blanks – Facts Don’t Matter to the Gun Ban Crowd. Let’s look at the people your city’s gun laws have entrapped:
• Marine Corps veteran Ryan Jerome is an Indiana resident with a permit to carry in that state. He had no criminal history until he tried to do the right thing by asking a security officer at the Empire State Building where he could check his firearm. He was arrested, jailed for 48 hours, and now faces a possible felony charge and up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
It may shock you, Mr. Mayor, but millions of average citizens regularly carry firearms for their personal protection. This includes veterans like Mr. Jerome, whose service in the Marine Corps protected your right to rant about private firearms ownership as if it were a plague. The only disease we see is social prejudice against gun owners, and you have all the symptoms.
• Meredith Graves of Tennessee traveled to New York for a job interview. Licensed to carry in her home state, she was with her husband when they stopped at the 9/11 memorial to pay their respects. When she saw a sign that indicated firearms were not allowed, she asked a security guard where she might check her pistol, carried for her personal protection. She was arrested, and now faces the same disgrace as Mr. Jerome, simply because, like him, she attempted to do the right thing as an honest citizen.
Outside of New York City, women can legally arm themselves against rapists, robbers, stalkers and murderers, taking responsibility for their own safety. They know the police cannot always protect them. Because of her arrest, Ms. Graves’ promising career may be ruined.
• Tea Party Patriots Chairman Mark Meckler of California was arrested – as have been countless other law-abiding citizens – at the airport after declaring, as required by federal law, that he had a firearm in his luggage. He legally owns that firearm in his home state and has it for his personal safety.
Recently, New York Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. (D-Queens) was quoted by the New York Post observing, “Clearly, the laws are too strict here.” He also admitted that by prosecuting people such as Meredith Graves, the city is “shooting our own…efforts in the foot and giving the rest of the country ammunition.”
Mr. Mayor, when your gun laws are so crazy that even a member of the city council is compelled to admit it, you’re in trouble. When you perpetuate such laws and pretend they are sensible, you’re in denial. When you defend laws that persecute honest citizens; laws that epitomize the term “infringement” and clearly violate the Constitution, you’re in the Twilight Zone.
New York is not a city-state, but part of the United States. The Constitution applies there as it does in the rest of the nation, from Fairbanks to Fort Lauderdale. It is time for you to admit that.
Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman