Mark Benedetto’s the president of the University of Sioux Falls. As such, you’d expect him to have an alphabet soup of letters after his name to signify all the impressive advanced degrees and certifications he’s attained. Apparently one eensy weensy gap in his eduction, however, is the fact that New York doesn’t take kindly to handguns. He acquired that knowledge the hard way last September when he was arrested while trying to check a gun at LaGuardia. Now Mark’s suing Delta Airlines because when it comes to gun laws, as Professor Kingsfield would tell him, he has a skull full of mush . . .
argusleader.com has the story:
Benedetto and his wife, Gail, flew to La Guardia Airport on Sept. 28 for a trip that involved picking up a piece of 9-11 memorabilia for a display at USF.
Benedetto declared that he had an unloaded handgun in a locked case inside his checked luggage, as required by the Transportation Security Administration and Delta Airlines policy.
Benedetto has a concealed carry permit for South Dakota but was unaware that it is illegal to possess a firearm in New York unless the gun owner is a New York resident with a state and local concealed carry permit.
Granted, it’s not easy to keep track of all the local gun laws around the country. But you have to lead a pretty sheltered life – or spend a lot of time in an academic ivory tower – to be unaware of New York’s antipathy to civilian heaters. And we’re willing to bet that as the president of a university, Dr. Benedetto has fairly regular access to the Internet which can be really handy in checking these things before you travel.
The good doctor managed to make it to the city that never sleeps just fine and evidently packed heat while he was there without incident. But all good things must come to an end and it was time to go home.
When he declared the firearm to the Delta ticket agent at La Guardia on Oct. 2, however, the declaration caught the attention of the airline.
“Without warning or explanation, the Delta ticket agent proceeded to notify the New York-New Jersey Port Authority Police via telephone that he had a passenger who had declared a firearm,” the lawsuit says.
He was arrested and spent a night in a Queens jail “under what the lawsuit calls ‘horrendous conditions.'” Imagine that. A New York jail that was less than immaculate.
The lawsuit charges Delta with negligence, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing and asks for compensatory and punitive damages of an unspecified amount.
The entire incident was a slap in the face, Benedetto said, given that he felt he’d done what he was expected to do before his departing and returning flights.
You didn’t do quite everything you were expected to do, Doc. Sure, dropping a dime on a customer seems like bad form on the part of the airline, but it’s not their responsibility to inform their flyers of the gun laws wherever they may roam in the not-so-friendly skies. Ask Mark Meckler about how important it is to know the gun laws when you travel. He at least had the good sense not to clog up the court system with a frivolous suit, trying to pin the blame on someone else for his ignorance.