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New York City -- my travel experience

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by coloradokevin, Mar 12, 2012.

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  1. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I just returned from my first ever (and probably only) trip to New York City, and wanted to share my story with those of you who might wonder about the gun culture in such a place. For many years I've avoided NYC like the plague, partially because of its anti-liberty attitude (ironic given the statue), but mostly due to my overall aversion to nearly all things BIG city related. But, I've got a brother who relocated to that area, and my girlfriend has a lot of family out there. As such, after years of avoiding NYC like the plague, I finally traveled there to see family, and the various sights.

    What a mess! That place is nothing short of a nightmare for gun owners, despite the fact that it is probably one of those places where having a gun for self-defense would be a very prudent thing to do if it wouldn't land you in jail. Unfortunately, it seems all but impossible for a regular citizen to have a gun (legally) in that city!

    Since a bit of background about myself is necessary to fully explain this story, I must mention that I work as a full-time police officer here in my home state, and my state is fairly relaxed on gun laws. Although the terms of my employment state that I am to be armed while on and off duty, until a few years ago we were cautioned against trying to carry in places like NY state. However, thanks to the enactment of 18 USC 926B (the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act, 2004), I'm now covered by federal law for the sake of concealed carry (at its most basic level) in the various states.

    Anyway, I took my backup gun with me on this trip, which is a Glock 26. This gun was checked into my luggage at my home airport, in the usual manner that many of you are probably familiar with (hard sided locked case inside of an item of checked luggage, gun unloaded, ammo in an ammo box). I retrieved the baggage containing my firearm at Laguardia airport in the ordinary manner.

    During the course of my travels in this city, it quickly became evident that carrying a firearm is a tough thing to do even for a fully commissioned law enforcement officer. Many of the buildings clearly listed that they were restricted to the point that only the NYPD or NY State Police were allowed to carry there, and weapons screening locations were conveniently located in many other places, just after the point where crowds would gather.

    So, despite being able to legally carry a gun in the city (while most people are sadly restricted beyond that level), I still found that I couldn't really effectively carry my gun and go anywhere that I might want to see as a tourist. As such, it pretty much sat at the place where I was staying for most of the trip, instead of being with me where it could do some good for me and the other decent citizens in the area. I really hate leaving my weapon behind when exploring an unfamiliar city, since it is so easy to find yourself in an area of town that you would have intentionally avoided if you had known the area.

    While I'm on the subject of these restrictions, I ought to mention that some of the "gun free zones" in this city really didn't make any sense to me at all. I went down to lower Manhattan to visit the 9/11 Memorial site yesterday. The memorial itself was nicely put together, with a pretty fountain pouring into the exact footprint of each of the twin towers, and the names of the victims listed around the perimeter of these memorials. It was a nice park-like setting, which was fitting for such a memorial. However, the city of NY has decided to surround the site (probably 15 acres or more) with a large fence. Then, everyone going into the site has to subject themselves to a weapons screening that isn't all that much different than the airport security we all deal with these days! So, instead of being able to walk up to an open memorial park and reflect on that tragic event, you now have to stand in an amusement park-like maze to go through security before you can approach the memorial fountains.

    Despite the tragedy of 9/11, anyone could recognize that this site would obviously serve as a very poor target for attack, just given the nature of the park-like atmosphere and lack of target concentration. However, the queue of hundreds of people waiting to get through the security point to enter this park would probably make a far more enticing target to someone who was willing to do harm to others in such a place. As such, it served as another prime example of "security theater" in a gun free zone. It makes the little lambs feel safer, while probably putting them at more risk of harm.

    Anyway, a lot of that type of silliness was anticipated before I ever stepped off of the plane. I figured NY would be a pain to deal with, and it was definitely not a friendly city for the gun owners. But, the icing on the cake came today when I returned to Laguardia airport for my flight home. I approached the airline's counter and declared the firearm in my checked bag in the usual manner (it was stored in the usual manner). At every other airport I've ever been to with a gun (about 12 so far), the ticketing agent then calls a TSA agent over to hand-check the baggage item that contains the firearm. Not so in NYC! The ticketing agent tells me that he's required to call the police on any guns that are being checked. I asked him if the TSA was going to check the bag, and he responded that the police need to talk to me first (he already knew I was a police officer at this time ). The ticketing agent, who had already made a couple of phone calls on the console phone right in front of me, then walks down the line away from me, picks up another phone, and presumably calls the police as he stood there looking at me as if I was some sort of trouble maker.

    A few minutes later (as I stood there waiting to check my bags at the front of the line) I was approached by 3 NYC Port Authority police officers, who were apparently assigned to handle such matters. They were polite to me, but were obviously on a mission from the outset. Two of the officers were fairly decent to talk with, but I definitely got the impression that it would have been an entirely different story (regarding my checked firearm) if I had not been a cop. The third guy was all business, and approached me about like this:

    "I need to see your driver's license and your department credentials, I also need you to open that bag, and the gun case. We need the serial number from your gun, we need to know what kind of ammo you're carrying, and I need your home address and phone number".

    This all surprised me a bit, since I was checking a firearm in the exact same manner that any other private citizen was allowed to at my home airport (and most other airports). Regardless, I have nothing to hide and politely complied with their requests. But, it got better. The contact officer (the most down-to-business of the three) then pulls my gun out of the case, in front of the entire line of people who would be on my flight, and holds it up to read the serial number, so that it was clearly visible to anyone standing in the line (30-40 people). He then asks me what kind of ammo I'm carrying and how many rounds. I played my hand close to the vest on that one and just said: "It's whatever my department issues, and it is just one 10-round magazine worth". That statement was entirely true, but I didn't want to go into great detail about my ammo, since I'm not entirely sure how NY views JHP rounds.

    After this part was over, the officers (all 3) walked me over to the TSA guy, who then searched me bag. They then walked me back to the counter to deliver my bag to the original ticketing agent.

    As a fellow lawman, the officers were happy to talk with me for a while after the bag check was complete, and I had no problem talking to them (I know as well as they do that these policies are set well above their heads). It was during this time that I learned that they routinely arrest out of state residents for carrying firearms without the necessary NY license to do so. They naturally mentioned that my LE status exempts me from that law, but did seem to make it sound like such arrests are business as usual in NYC for other citizens.

    After getting home tonight I attempted to read more about NYC firearms rules, and discovered that they're quite messy (and expensive... something like $340 to apply, and $95 for fingerprints). I also found an interesting tidbit on Wikipedia about arrests being made at NYC airports for the possession of otherwise legally owned, stored, and checked firearms (scroll down to the non-resident section):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_New_York#Non-resident_travel_through_N.Y.

    Another article shows that someone else was arrested for trying to check a gun at Laguardia in recent months:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57344080/tea-partys-mark-meckler-arrested-on-gun-charge/


    The moral of this story? Don't carry a gun in NYC! Better yet, don't go to NYC. Come to CO instead, and we'll take you out shooting. :) I really just can't believe that NYC can get away with these policies in THIS country.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  2. razorback2003

    razorback2003 Member

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    You were very lucky to be able to carry a handgun as an out of stater in NYC.

    It seems like folks don't have problems getting a license to keep a gun at home, it is the carrying part that seems to be harder in NYC. Still NYC guns wise is better than a lot of foreign countries where folks can't keep a gun for protection.
     
  3. Norom

    Norom Member

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    This is so very sad to hear, not only from the history of that city but also that this can happen in the country. I live in Oregon and we are a fairly good gun state, although I have heard and read quite a few story's of people getting arrested for legal concealed carry in cities that made legislation saying you may not have a gun on your person within city limits. Portland for example is one of these cities followed by Eugene, Salem, Albany and so on. Truly sad.
     
  4. imsobored

    imsobored Member

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    The 9/11 memorial is fenced off and requires advanced tickets(free) since its still "under construction"only a limited number of people a day set for different times. I was just there in dec/jan

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy using tapatalk
     
  5. imsobored

    imsobored Member

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    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy using tapatalk
     
  6. ultradoc

    ultradoc Member

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    I would rather go to Co. than N.Y anytime. The scenery is much better.
     
  7. The War Wagon

    The War Wagon Member

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  8. JohnD13

    JohnD13 Member

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    It's not better if you live here. My license, issued upstate, is not considered valid in New York City. But a license issued in New York city is valid anywhere in the state. We do things differently here, that's for certain.
     
  9. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    FWIW, not all NY'ers are antis, although they are certainly in the minority in my experience. Unfortunately, they seem to be a tiny group.
     
  10. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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    Yeah, I won't ever be taking my tourist dollars to New York City, California, Illinois or New Jersey (not that there is anything to see there anyway).

    NYC certainly won't be getting any better any time soon. I think Furher Bloomberg seems to have a lifetime dictatorship in that city.
     
  11. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    LOL

    I am now a retired LEO and also carry under the same law as you.

    I was born there and visit every few years for a Yankees game,and I go into the stadium with no search - yea funny that.

    But I drive to the city and carry a good deal more than you,never had an issue yet.

    But yes they are strict and stupid in the way its enforced.

    I have been to NYC at least 20 times since 1982 when I got on the job,never had a issue and was told by many city officers that if I was not armed - I was a fool.

    But I stay the hell away from airlines as I have too many issues with the tsa to get in a pi$$ing contest with them as I know I would lose.

    There is too much to enjoy to stay away forever,but drive in and go to places that dont ask you to disarm.

    Little Italy,Chinatown,Macy's [ for the wife ] and all the food and shopping are great.
     
  12. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    scaatylobo,

    We did walk through Little Italy and Chinatown. Great food in both places! And, the air travel situation is ridiculous these days... in every possible way.
     
  13. Jeremiah10:23

    Jeremiah10:23 Member

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    Didn't you know, NYC stands for No You Can't.

    Could also mean Not Your (my) Country.
     
  14. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I am not a LEO, and would NEVER consider carrying a gun or even a knife in NYC. I applaud your effort, and attitude towards legal concealed carry. I wish everybody thought that way. The 9/11 memorial story doesn't surprise me and the political "security theater" to show "we're DOING something" is laughable and sad. A reminder that the terrorists have won.

    I was a resident of CO for several years, and LOVED it. I'd rather be there than almost anywhere especially NYC or even NY state which isn't much better.
     
  15. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    Didn't they make a movie about Escape From New York? Yes, yes they did. Escape is the operative word.
     
  16. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    Wait. If handguns are essentially banned in NYC why do they need metal detectors/checkpoints to access some locations? Think about it.

    Gun control in cities like NYC is all about the control, not guns.
     
  17. Bonesinium

    Bonesinium Member

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    True statement.

    That is why it is called gun control, and NOT crime prevention. Those are two totally different things. Unfortunately it a country full of morons and people who believe whatever they hear, and are incapable of thinking, this is what you get. God help us all.

    Great post.

    I think what you said couldn't make it any more clear, especially being that you are also a LEO! In places like NYC, the attitude of a officer is that of them being in charge, and you, being a criminal unless you can prove you are not. There is no 'friendly' interaction between them without some sense of them trying to find you a criminal. What a terrible thing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    That's pretty funny.
     
  19. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    So, were you mugged? Did you need it? Were you or your loved ones raped or otherwise harmed in any way? Seems the answer is a big a no - and it is funny to read the nowheremen - folks who have NEVER been there whining about the place. I was born and raised there - maybe some of you folks could use some time in the museums, libraries art galleries and theaters. Knew what areas to stay out of, went to all the tourist spots AND the locals spots with NEVER an issue - not one, zero, zilch, nada

    so maybe the folks who have NEVER been there should refrain from posting gibberish about something they have no knowledge about

    Is it Eden? Nope, sure isn't, and there are certainly places you do not want to be depending on your skin color or gender and time of day - but I can say that about ANY city bigger than 50,000 as well

    But then these are the same folks who feel the need in their town to carry a gun into the shower with them or anywhere they go, even on their own property - just how safe or unsafe is that compared to NYC?

    Johnny Dollar - I know NYC and I also agree - it has some of the best food. culture, history, and PEOPLE of any place in this country
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2012
  20. Skyshot

    Skyshot Member

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    I guess business has got to be pretty good if you're a robber or thief in that town huh!
     
  21. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    ^^ Good lord.
     
  22. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    My first trip into NYC was back in 1966, young sailor with friends just fresh from the farm. Over the years I had to go into different sections of the city and was always amazed by the fear so many people had about being in the city and they had never been there. My late wife went with me on one trip and by the time we went across the GW bridge she was totally scared to death from horror stories that were told to her. I drove a big truck and was warned over and over about different sections but I never had a single issue at all, even the local Police were very friendly and helpful. I will say that moving around the streets of Brooklyn with a 53ft trailer could be an event that I don't want to repeat overall NYC is definitely a place to visit.
     
  23. hermannr

    hermannr Member

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    I have been in NYC two times. Once when I was in the Military, once to fly into LaGuardia to attend a funeral in Albany,,,Never Again!!!!! even though my wife's family is from NY and politically connected,,,NEVER AGAIN!!!

    I will drive into NYS, but I will never aganin voluntarily enter NYC, EVER!!!!

    Believe it or not: If you have the proper nanny permits and licenses, it is legal (that means there is no written law prohibiting OC) to Open Carry in NY...And how long do you think you would live doing something totally legal?
     
  24. smkummer

    smkummer Member

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    NY has over stepped its bounds and I only go there (I am a pilot) on business. They have taxed, regulated and interceded on peoples rights under some security/safety banner for all too long. Good friggen ridance. What friggen right has he to ask what type of ammo you are carrying? You did right by saying dept. issue. What a <deleted>! Does this state LEO believe he is above us mere subjects? Why even talk with the other "nice" LEO's? Maybe it makes them feel good that they can "chum" and somewhat make you feel welcome. Good cop bad cop? <deleted> em! That state is so far gone it will take generations to come back to reality.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2012
  25. BIGGBAY90

    BIGGBAY90 Member

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    VERY STRICT CITY --where's the nra
     
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