When people complain about preemption of local gun laws, I tend to point out that a world without preemption is one where a person who lawfully carries a gun in one place is breaking the law in another. This is especially problematic for those who travel a lot.
For example, truck drivers usually go from city to city as a matter of course in their job.
Now, at the federal level, we still have a patchwork of gun laws. Federal law protects people traveling through states from being arrested, at least in theory. If your weapon is legal in your state and in the state you’re going to, you’re good to go. Again, at least in theory. Occasionally, states such as New Jersey decide the law doesn’t apply to them and arrest people anyway.
Yet what about truck drivers? They may have to stop in a state as a result of their job. What happens with them?
Well, one who stopped at Fort Drum in New York found out the hard way. Now, gun rights groups are speaking out in his defense.
It’s a dispute over the right to bear arms and state law enforced at the gate to federal property at Fort Drum.
When a driver from Kentucky delivered telephone poles to Fort Drum on November 15, a gun rights group says his Second Amendment rights were violated.
“He never thought the installation’s military police would betray him for simply exercising his fundamental right to bare arms,” said Steve Felano, founder of 2AWNY.
In Watertown Thursday, Felano talked about who state police have now identified as 40 year old Martin Barrett, a Kentucky delivery driver who, when making a delivery to Fort Drum, admitted he had an unloaded firearm in a locked box, as he says he’s done at many other installations.
Military police called state police. He then had his gun taken by troopers and Barrett was charged with possessing an illegal weapon. The group says the incident was unconstitutional.
Why was Barrett charged? The state of Kentucky does not require pistol permits. New York state does and Barrett didn’t have one.
As such, he wasn’t protected by federal law because his destination was New York. Now, the weapon was apparently secured in the truck which could also be argued as a place of residence, but that doesn’t actually matter to NY State Police.
It shouldn’t, though.
You see, the problem here is that the various state’s gun laws are that same kind of patchwork I mentioned before. The driver in question could have looked up the gun laws for the state of New York, but let’s also be honest here, what could he have done? It’s not like drivers get a lot of say in which states they drop their loads in.
Then there are the arguments about whether Fort Drum MPs overstepped in reporting it. Second Amendment advocates argue that the MPs notifying the state police violates Posse Comitatus. I’m not so sure of that, myself, but I do think their actions were out of line. Again the firearm was allegedly secured.
That should have counted for something.
Plus, let’s not forget that even if the driver had a permit, it likely wouldn’t have mattered. New York doesn’t recognize other states’ gun permits anyway, so even if he’d had a Kentucky carry permit, he probably still would have been arrested. If that’s not a call for national reciprocity, then just what the hell is?
Honestly, there’s nothing about this incident that doesn’t stink.