Stossel Reports: How Predatory NY Gun Laws Cost Visitors Time in Jail, Thousands in Legal Fees

Thinking about traveling to New York?  Think again.

In a video for ReasonTV, John Stossel shows just how crazy the state’s gun laws can be, specifically as it pertains to visitors flying into New York City airports. From the write-up:

Stossel interviews Patricia Jordan and Avi Wolf, who were arrested at the airport. Patricia had tried to declare her gun, which was unloaded and in a TSA-approved case. Avi was trying to declare an empty gun magazine–essentially a piece of metal with a spring in it.

For their effort they spent a day in jail. They were threatened with three years and six months in jail–the mandatory minimum for having a gun in New York. They spent months worrying about how to beat the charge. Each spent more than $15,000 in legal bills.

Eventually the government let them off with a violation–”public disorder.”




One can make an argument that both Jordan and Wolf should have researched NY’s gun laws before traveling through the airport.  As responsible gun owners, the onus is on them to know the laws of the land.

But, at the same time, one could also argue that NY’s gun laws are far from reasonable, in fact, one could argue that they’re unconstitutional.  Moreover, the way in which prosecutors apply the law to well-intentioned individuals is predatory and unfair.

The bottom line is that things really need to change in the Empire State.  Remember, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Bill in NC August 29, 2019, 10:06 am

    IIRC, NY was not even the destination of these travelers, but was only the hub where they were to change planes.

    IMHO, the only gun laws that should apply to such travelers are those at the point of origination and final destination. If I do not leave the airport, local laws regarding such items should not apply.

    Here’s the principle: I have the right to self defense sufficient that my employer must permit me to store my firearm in my locked car while at on company property because to do otherwise would deprive me of my ability to defend myself in transit to and from.

    Applying the same principle, although I might not be permitted to possess the firearm outside of the airport, train or bus depot, I SHOULD be permitted to have it securely in my possession while in transit — and that includes any waiting periods made mandatory by the carrier scheduling.

    Further, if the common carrier experiences a lapse in ability to complete their contract, this “no foul” zone should increase to include any lodging within a reasonable radius of perhaps 10 miles.
    Why such a large radius? Because if the airport is shut down, MANY others will be similarly inconvenienced and lodgings closer are likely to be full.

    Two things failed here: First, NY legislators are not reasonable people and consistently exercise poor judgment regarding firearms. Second, the arresting officers showed a similar level of poor judgment.

    Sorry, cops don’t get a “I was only enforcing the law” pass when they have considerable discretion as to whether a matter advances beyond the verbal warning stage or not.

  • Beachhawk August 21, 2017, 2:33 am

    If God himself came down to Earth and ordered the New York legislature and governor to change their gun laws, they would all rather die and go to Hell than comply.

  • Patriot August 19, 2017, 1:30 pm

    New York, California, Oregon, etc. are totally screwed up on gun control and, unfortunately, probably always will be due to Dems and Nauseous News Media. SUPPORT PRESIDENT TRUMP !!!! By the way, I feel President Trump was correct in saying the confrontation in Charlottesville was correct in saying it was due to the attitude on both sides. Do you think the U.S. and North Korea would have a war if both sides did not think it was necessary????

  • bob August 18, 2017, 2:39 pm

    Solution: Don’t go to New York at all! Boycott the Big Apple!

    • Bill in NC August 29, 2019, 11:03 am

      I live in NC.
      I have family I do not visit in NYC and family in MNPLS whom i do. When I visit family in MNPLS I take the longer route west of the Mississippi in order to avoid having anything to do with Illinois.
      I have not bought a single thing in NY or IL in almost 20 years. Not a tank of gas. Not a night in a motel. Not a meal. Not even a “Made in Taiwanl, ROC” souvenir pencil.

      That will not change until they drop their Stazi approach to gun laws and grant reciprocity regarding concealed carry with NC.

      Minnesota law is also backwards. While they will let me have my firearm in a locked container, there is no reciprocity with NC and they will not allow me to get an out of state CC license unless I will be there at least 10 days. In my entire working life I have never taken a 10 day vacation. Toss in travel time …

  • Grant Stevens August 18, 2017, 2:26 pm

    Until we the people start enforcing “… shall not be infringed,” government will continue to violate our unalienable right to keep and bear arms. There are no “reasonable gun-control laws.” They only penalize the law-abiding. Laws mean nothing to criminals. The incremental tyranny of tens-of-thousands of gun laws has eviscerated the Second Amendment and taken power from we the people and given it to Big Brother. We allow government to violate the Constitution at our own peril.

    • BluNos August 23, 2017, 12:32 am

      Very well stated Mr. Stevens.

  • max hoyle August 18, 2017, 1:37 pm

    BOYCOTT NY, CONN, NJ, COL, MD, MASS, IL, CAL, all the anti gun states! I try to buy nothing from them, even check labels on things at grocery store, and email they’re tourism office and tell them about this policy.

  • Dan C August 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    New York happened to be their destination. But what if they were only making a connecting flight, and their connection flight was cancelled. They would then possibly have to retrieve their luggage and leave the airport, and would then also be in violation of New York’s gun laws. Lawful gun owners who fly apparently have to think of everything that can possibly happen to the airplane or their flight, what city/state they might be redirected to, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming.

    • steve August 18, 2017, 4:23 pm

      not sure if you know this or not(and that it was your point), but this has happened multiple times. peoples flights getting redirected to new York due to emergency, inclement weather, etc., and those people getting arrested.
      I’ve even heard stories of people refusing to take pssesion of the gun back at the airport so they don’t get arrested.

      • Dan C August 18, 2017, 10:49 pm

        I wasn’t aware of specific instances, but I’m not surprised to hear that it’s happened. Might be better to ship your firearm to your destination ahead of time whenever possible. U.S. Citizens who hunt in Canada have been doing that for a while.

  • Jack August 18, 2017, 10:25 am

    Funny how the D.A. interviewed by Stossel stated that he must uphold/enforce the bogus statute, “to the full extent of the law.” I wonder if he feels the same way toward enforcing our the nation’s existing immigration laws. I say, boycott New Yuk.

  • Robie Houser August 18, 2017, 9:02 am

    Should you value your freedom then avoid the northeastern states, upper midwestern, California, Washington state and Oregon all together. In case a policeman/woman finds they want to deal with you in a bad way they could simply plant a gun on you or even someone wanting to cause you trouble could plant a gun on you and then report you to the authorities.

    • Mark Johnson August 18, 2017, 10:28 am

      Um…New Hamshire? Maine ? Vermont? All constitutional carry states. I live in NH and we have some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country. Do some research guy.

      • Bill in NC August 29, 2019, 11:10 am

        I’d be happy to visit you … when do your fall colors start? … I’m told they are gorgeous. All I need now is a land route from NC that doesn’t pass through Stazi territory.

  • WGH August 18, 2017, 8:36 am

    I was born and raised in New York. And moved out of state because of these ridiculous laws and the extremely high taxes. I had a full carry permit. (which is nearly impossible to get). The back round check was incredibly thorough and took six months to get. I do believe in back round checks but the politicians in New York do not think that is good enough and still impose totally ridiculous laws about magazine capacity. And the type of firearm you can own. All this did was make all the people who legally own handguns criminals.They started with a 10 round capacity then changed to a 7 round capacity and now if you have a magazine over 7 rounds you have committed a felony. And in New York city a BB gun needs to be registered.
    Then to make it more insane they allowed the newspapers to print all of the legal permit holders names and addresses. They claim it was to make the community safer. But all it did was to make law abiding citizens a target.

    This state believes a safe society is one with no rights and no form of self protection. And they use lies to achieve their goals.

    • Beachhawk August 21, 2017, 2:48 am

      I live in Florida, the Gun Shine State. After our legislature passed “shall issue” carry laws, some newspapers began publishing the names and addresses of citizens with concealed carry licenses. That practice put a target on the backs of permit holders and pointed out where burglars might get their hands on a gun. The Florida legislature put a stop to that.

      Then some south Florida cities, those controlled by left-wing, ding-bat Democrats, began passing restrictive city gun ordinances. To put a stop to that, the legislature passed a law preempting all gun regulations to state control. The Democrats have not figured out how to circumvent that law yet.

      • Bill in NC August 29, 2019, 11:14 am

        It’s actually pretty simple … win the legislature and Governor’s seats.
        And that means that conservatives must defend those seats with a fervor and intensity far beyond normal.

    • Bill in NC August 29, 2019, 11:11 am

      Welcome to the Bolshevist State of New York. Bend over.

  • Paul August 18, 2017, 8:34 am

    President Trump promised to create new Federal laws allowing interstate concealed carry for those who qualify through background investigations. We NEED to assert pressure on Congress to pass these measures. 2018 is rapidly approaching and the prospect of liberals regaining Senate seats makes me want to puke.

    • Rob August 18, 2017, 9:32 am

      Paul- the bills that are being considered in Congress would call for states to recognize a carry permit from another state. HOWEVER- these bills as written do NOT circumvent current state laws. That means that states- like freakin NY- that restrict concealed/open carry do NOT have to abide by any Federal law. Just sayin……

  • DBM August 18, 2017, 7:32 am

    I think it was back in the early 80’s an Arkansas State Police officer had traveled to NYC to pick up a felon that had been extradited to Arkansas. Of course the troop traveled to NYC armed to take this violent felon back. While unpacking in his hotel room after arrival he heard a knock on the door and when he unlocked the door 3 armed men attacked him. He was able to get to his bag and retrieve his service revolver and shot all 3. NYPD immediately arrested him for having an unlicensed firearm. Took some real arm twisting to get NYC to drop charges and release him.

  • Mike August 18, 2017, 7:18 am

    These gun laws were voted in by New Yorkers who live down state. They have the population mass, NYC that is, and are so left liberal minded, thanks to being brain washed by politicians who feel what they want is good for all. It’s sad, it’s what we’ve become, where majority rules, common sense no longer exists.

  • Davron August 18, 2017, 4:08 am

    I have a lot of friends that actually aren’t from NYC, but have lived in NY their entire life. By and large, none of those people voted for representatives that enacted any of the state laws, and obviously none that enacted laws that were specifically created for the city proper. I feel sorry for them, though now that Colorado has some of the same types in our state, I’m sad as well. It’s too bad we can’t just enact the vision of John Carpenter and turn it into its own prison facility. Unfortunately we might then have to send in Kurt Russell to go get someone out of it that we need.

  • Robert Holliman August 14, 2017, 4:24 pm

    Stay in and visit America. Avoid New York and areas where the Constitution is no longer honored and/or not the law of their land.

    • Jack D. August 18, 2017, 7:47 am

      Could not agree more with you. NY, NJ are two states I will not go to.

    • Bill in NC August 29, 2019, 11:21 am

      With rare exceptions (business in public buildings, need of medical services) I don’t go where my pistol cannot. There are many faces to tyranny and the ghostbusters no-gun sign is one of them.

  • Robert Smith August 11, 2017, 8:15 pm

    While I sympathize with these individuals, it raises the question of why an non-resident of New York should be allowed to have a handgun in their hotel room while most residents can’t even get a permit to have one in their house. Federal civil rights legislation is needed here, and not just for the visitors.

    • Will Drider August 13, 2017, 11:47 pm

      The reason is because the majority of New Yorkers voted in the politicians that make the anti-gun Laws. Non-residents gave no such authority or consent to be deprived of their 2A Rights. NY laws state you can transit through NY with a lawful firearm but NY can not be a destination (start, end or undue delay while en route).

      • Stephen Stewart August 18, 2017, 9:34 am

        Will Drider: I live in NY and I you are incorrect that NY allows someone to ‘transition’ through NY with firearm. Certainly NOT a handgun. Taken from the NRA-ILA website; Non-Residents – It is unlawful for any person to carry, possess or transport a handgun in or through the state unless he has a valid New York license.

        • Brian August 18, 2017, 11:11 am

          Not totally correct. An airline passenger boarding in a state where they are lawfully permitted to have their firearm traveling through places like NY to another state where they are permitted to have the same firearm are federally protected but having NY as a destination whereby the passenger would take possession of the firearm in NY are not. Google Mcclure Volkmer act This applies to motor vehicles as well but again, the prohibited state can not be his or her destination and stopping anywhere in the state puts this protection on shaky ground. I fly into Logan all the time with firearms and leave to go to NH but I never ever fly out of Logan with the same firearms. The protection doesn’t cover that and guaranteed the MA state police, who secure Logan, would be called with me subsequently facing felony gun possession charges. Even if a person does everything correct, a cancelled flight during a layover triggering returned luggage makes an innocent person a felon instantly. I travel through Chicago on layovers with firearms several times a month and I am constantly aware it could happen to me. I would refuse to take possession of the firearm if it did happen and let the airline deal with it until I was put on a new flight. Taking possession of the firearm, even in the airport, puts me at huge risk. The lady, in this case was wrong in doing what she did regardless of the fact that NY sucks and has predatory gun laws. In regards to the empty magazine, well, NY sucks. Enough said

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