Tea Party Patriots leader arrested at airport for checking in lawful pistol
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler was arrested at an airport in New York City on Thursday after he attempted to check-in a locked gun box holding his Glock 27 pistol and ammunition to a Delta Air Lines ticket agent.
According to authorities and his attorney, Meckler, 49, holds a concealed-carry permit for the Glock 27 pistol at home in California, but not in New York where he was attempting to board the plane. As a result, he was arrested and charged with a felony.
“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 District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
“Otherwise, they may find themselves being arrested and charged with a felony – as is what occurred in this case,” he said.
Attorney Brian Stapleton of Goldberg, Segalla, LLP said Meckler was only attempting to follow TSA rules for checking in a firearm when he was arrested.
“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,” Stapleton said.
Meckler was arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court and charged with second degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Class C felony.
Meckler was released Thursday. He has a court date set for Jan. 12, 2012.
Brown said Meckler, a well-known person in the tea party movement, told authorities he keeps the pistol with him because he gets threats.