A man walked into JFK airport in New York City this weekend trying to catch a flight to Tennessee. As required by FAA regulations, he declared that he had an unloaded and locked firearm that he wanted to check through to his final destination. Under any sane person’s reading of the safe passage provisions of the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act, that should be fine and dandy. But since this is New York we’re talking about, the man was immediately arrested and CNN was all over the story . . .
A man was arrested Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport after checking a loaded rifle and three other illegal weapons, according to a Port Authority spokesperson.
Keenan Draughon of Clarksville, Tennessee, was arrested after he checked two handguns, two defaced rifles and two unloaded high-capacity magazines, according to Port Authority spokesperson Joseph Pentangelo.
Although the paint scheme on that AK-esque gun turns my stomach a little, calling a painted firearm “defaced” (as the New York Port Authority police department and CNN tell the story) is disingenuous at best. In this case, it was probably a calculated move to try and paint this gun owner as a criminal and a nut and to appeal to the large population of gun control advocates in the tri-state. “Defaced” is usually a term applied when someone files a serial number off. In this case, the serial number was still present and visible.
All of these firearms are legal in most of the rest of the United States, but because the city of New York requires anyone within its limits (resident or not) to have a permit to exercise their Second Amendment rights, these guns were illegal. Also in the Draughon’s cases were two unloaded standard capacity magazines, which are now also illegal under New York’s SAFE Act.
Draughon is facing multiple felony charges now including a charge related to the poorly painted rifle being “defaced.” While I hope that this might finally be the case that solidifies the “safe passage” laws (which was the one and only good thing that we got in exchange for the rest of the turd sandwich that is FOPA), I’m more concerned about what precedent could be set by saying that merely painting over a serial number constitutes “defacing” a firearm. If that same standard is applied elsewhere it could mean that a lot of people with some very pretty pieces would suddenly become felons.