“Meckler pleads guilty, gets fined $250 in gun-on-airplane case”

Credit: NY Daily News
Editor’s note: Our local newspaper The Union and the New York Daily News seem to have a vastly different perspectives on how to report the latest news about Mark Meckler’s gun-on-airplane incident. The Union chose to turn to Meckler himself as a “correspondent,” running an article titled “Meckler Gun Charges Dropped, by Mark Meckler, submitted to The Union” as “BREAKING NEWS.” It is here. Here’s the NY Daily News version:

“A Tea Party hotshot pleaded guilty Thursday to trying to carry a pistol and ammunition aboard a flight out of LaGuardia Airport last month,” the New York Daily News is reporting.

“Mark Meckler, 49, was fined $250 after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. His Glock 27 handgun will be destroyed.

“Meckler, the high-profile founder of the Tea Party Patriots, declined to comment after a brief appearance in Queens Supreme Court. He smiled before he and his lawyer jumped into a waiting car.

“Queens prosecutors say Meckler had a California permit for the semi-automatic handgun but didn’t have permission to tote the weapon around New York. He told cops he needed the gun to protect himself against threats.

“Meckler, whose website bio boasts his “patriotic foundations and cowboy ethics,” sported a pair of cowboy boots.

The article is here.

The New York Post version is here.

Tea Party leader Meckler arrested with handgun at airport

“Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots and one of the most prominent spokesmen for the grassroots movement, was arrested Thursday and is being charged with illegally trying to carry a handgun onto a plane at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, NY,” according to TalkingPointsMemo.com and other media outlets.

“According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, Meckler arrived at the airport with the gun and ammunition locked in a safe and presented it to the flight attendant at the Delta check-in counter. He allegedly told authorities that he needed the gun for protection, but did not have a New York State license to carry the weapon. He’s being charged with a second degree possession of an illegal weapon, a felony charge that carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

“’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,’ Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement. ‘Otherwise, they may find themselves being arrested and charged with a felony – as is what occurred in this case.’

“Meckler’s lawyer did not dispute the basic facts of the story, but said that his client followed routine procedure for transporting a weapon. In an e-mail to reporters, attorney Brian Stapleton wrote:

“’Mark Meckler, an attorney and National Coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, who holds a concealed-carry permit from the state of California, today was charged with a firearms violation at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. 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, he 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.

“A spokesman for the Queens DA, Kevin Ryan, told TPM that the legal issue wasn’t whether Meckler followed airline regulations regarding safe transportation of a handgun, the issue was that he did not have a carry permit for New York state, which has strict requirements for handguns.”

The full article is here.