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Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Arrested on Gun Charges at NYC Airport

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"He didn't have a correct understanding of the law."

Mark Meckler, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, a group that supports conservative candidates and values, was arrested on felony charges after he took a gun to LaGuardia Airport on Thursday.

The incident unfolded when the conservative leader attempted to check in for a Delta flight to Detroit. Prosecutors say that Meckler, 49, had a locked gun box, which contained a Glock pistol and 19 cartridges of ammunition, in his luggage. According to Politico, Meckler had been in New York since last Sunday. He told police that he carries the gun because he receives threats.

While Meckler did declare the gun at the airline ticket counter, as required, New York City has strict rules on concealed weapons. While he is licensed to carry in Grass Valley, California, he does not have the same ability to carry in New York. In this instance, it appears Meckler had a fundamental misunderstanding of the legalities involved in carrying between states.

"He didn't have a correct understanding of the law," confirmed Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "Though he has a permit to carry in California, that did not cover him in the state of New York."

As a result, he spent a day in jail and has been released. While the charges against him could lead to prison time (Daily Intel reports that it could be up to 15 years), people in similar situations typically only face fines. Politico has more:

The tea party leader’s lawyer argued that he was “in temporary transit through the State of New York in possession of an unloaded, lawful firearm,” and that Mr. Meckler had been fully compliant with all laws, according to the New York Times.

Meckler was arraigned on charges of second degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony that could carry up to fifteen years in prison. He was released pending a Jan. 12 court date.

This case will likely intrigue those who have a strong stance on Second Amendment rights, especially considering the fact that Meckler seems to have merely made a mistake in his understanding of interstate concealed carry laws.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(H/T: Daily Intel)

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