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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.

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  1. It sucks that I have to fly through JFK to get to South Africa, it means I can’t take a firearm to shoot IDPA or IPSC while there. Even being covered by LEOSA I still won’t chance. They would screw with you just enough that you miss your flight and have to take 2 connection through Europe to get to SA.

  2. What… IS that? The receiver looks like it may be one piece?! It’s not another dang airsoft being touted as a real gun is it?

  3. The CNN story is missing some details that could make all the difference (as far as “safe passage” is concerned; the defacement charges are pure bullshit either way). Was this cat just passing through the airport, on a connecting flight, or did he walk in off the street with the guns?

    “It’s unusual, but it’s not remarkable,” Pentangelo told CNN about the case. “Luckily, no one got hurt.”

    Yeah, whew, those guns in a locked case could have gone all Terminator and killed a bunch of people all on their own… What a stroke of luck that they just remained inanimate objects!

    • I like to play the “Luckily, no one got hurt” game. It makes life so much more exciting!

      Don’t go to that sandwich shop down the street. Last time I was there, they put the tomatoes under the lettuce. Luckily, no one got hurt.

      While removing the groceries from the trunk, I realized that the bag containing multiple cans of soup had developed a small hole. The bag gave way, allowing the cans to fall many inches to the ground. Luckily, no one got hurt.

  4. Yes, America, they really are coming for our guns. Stories like this show the truth that the anti-gun activists try to deny as they slowly restrict our rights.

  5. From the caption: The rifle painted purple was considered to be illegally defaced. The black shotgun is legal to possess.

    That evil black “shotgun” is a Hi Point carbine, and if I’m not mistaken, is a banned weapon in NY

    And what the hell IS that purple thing?

  6. “Defacing” is another one of the bullshit New York rules. Federal codes only mention serial numbers in the context of “removed, obliterated, or altered.” Painting over them does none of that. Even covering them so they’re not visible to casual inspection is not against the rules, as long as the serial number remains extant.

  7. New York/NJ Port Authority’s been pulling this crap long before the SAFE act became law.George Revell got locked up for his flight making an emergency landing in Newark-where his handgun, legal to own in his original destination of PA,was illegal to posess.

    What did the appellate court say?

    “Turn your guns in to the airline or the PD”

    Don’t fly to, around, or even within diverting distance of NJ/NY.If you do fly to the East Coast with a weapon, bring a beat up police trade in you wouldnt mind parting with.

  8. Hey, a locked case who the hell cares, he obviously wasn’t trying to hide the fact he had weapons… Free country my ass!

  9. A purple AK should get you laughed at on the range by your friends not arrested this is pure b.s. as for everything else if he bought it somewhere else and was just tryin to catch his connection I see no issues, hell shouldn’t be any issues no matter where he got em or what he was doing with em.

  10. It might be a sign of the times, but I think it is pretty fair to say this guy may have had it coming. If was flying through JFK with my firearms, I know I would be extra paranoid to make sure everything was unloaded… wouldn’t you?

    What’s hilarious (sarc) though is CNN and apparently NYPD’s focus on the types of firearms and not that they were allegedly loaded.

    That and he should have been arrested for the purple paint job anyway.

    • Joseph, if something like this should happen to you remember your comments. This city is about as stupid as you can get.
      And yes, they should have been unloaded, but from comments made on the CNN site, most airports just have you unload them and continue on your way.

    • Gotta agree Joseph. You can disagree with the law all you want, but you better be damn sure you know the local, state, and federal laws/regulations before doing something like flying with firearms. Its his own fault he got arrested.

      • But for the fact that New York’s enforcement is at odds with federal law, I’d agree with you. FOPA says if it’s legal at your departure point, and legal where you’re going, you’re good. So if he’s in upstate NY, and he’s flying to North Carolina, then it’s legal in both places. If it’s locked up and transported properly, New York City shouldn’t, by federal law, have a leg to stand on. But they continue to get away with doing whatever the hell they want to do, federal law be damned.

        It’s going to continue to work that way until New York’s illegal laws are struck down by the courts, which means it’s going to continue to work that way forever, most likely.

        • This BS by the PA cops must be pretty routine. I missed it in my daily read of the Daily News. The BIG news this morning was the stabbing spree in Brooklyn. More blood and gore I guess.

  11. I’m confused… We’re the guns loaded or unloaded? Unfortunately, FOPA doesn’t protect you from the parking lot to the terminal, even if the guns are locked and unloaded.

  12. You know you have had a bad day when you become a felon over a s****y Hi Point Carbine and a Krylon’d WTF cannon…

  13. These people are just… disgusting.
    I’m glad I no longer watch main steam media for news.

    I plan to move to Alaska in the future from SC but if I have to risk this shit at the airport, I’m just going to sell the only two guns I have and buy more up there (I need a rifle for HD anyway). SC isn’t New York City but still…

    …And did they just call a 9mm carbine a shotgun?

  14. Foghorn, do you have some info that CNN doesn’t? (not that I would be surprised) Their article says that one of the guns was loaded while you say they were unloaded. While I agree that NY/NJ/DC/MD/etc are usually in the wrong for the way they apply “safe passage”, it does look like he did something wrong here if they were loaded.

    • I’m gonna answer that one with the answer I came up with for myself. One of the rifles was loaded. Possibly/probably unbeknownst to Mr. Draughon. The other three were not. He walked in and told them he needed to check his guns. In virtually any other state, they would have handed him the little orange card, he would have put it inside the case, gotten on the plane, and traveled to his destination. Possibly (inadvertently) with a loaded gun. I’d bet it happens a whole lot more often than you realize, but because we live in a free country and the loaded gun can’t jump out of the case and assassinate the pilot, nobody is ever the wiser except the gun owner who gets to his destination, discovers one of his thought-to-be-unloaded guns was actually an instrument of death and destruction lying in wait, has a massive “oh shit” moment, and then NEVER TELLS A SOUL about his stupidity.

      However, this was New York, so instead of handing him the orange card, they called the cops. When the cops arrived and inspected his rifle cases and found the rifles that would have been legal virtually anywhere else in the 57 states, they also discovered that (gasp) one of the rifles was loaded, which virtually anywhere else in the 57 states would have gone completely unnoticed, no harm, no foul.

      How’s that explanation sit with you?

      • I’ve flown in and out of Albany NY with handguns, enroute to Nevada. I go through the normal airline checking procedure, but then a sheriff is summoned. He checks the guns to see if they are unloaded, then checks the numbers against the required NYS registration card. They’re cordial, and their manners imply that they don’t agree with the program. Sort of like a store clerk being forced to ID 50 year olds buying beer. The additional layer of scrutiny, well…just sucks. At the other end, in Nevada, there is no such nonsense.
        But, NYC–that toxic bubble needs to be avoided at all cost. I’d never try to navigate that minefield.

        • “At the other end, in Nevada, there is no such nonsense.”

          Yeah, that’s kinda what I meant. I’ve flown with my guns easily a few dozen times now (never to/through NY), and the only time my guns were ever actually checked by someone else to see if they were loaded was the very first leg of the very first trip, and I think that was because I told her I’d never done this before.

        • @ Blue. “This guy was from Tennessee so there is no registration cards for any firearms.”

          Yeah, I know. Just pointing out the extra layer of scrutiny in NY airports–the calling of the cops to verify the guns are unloaded. And if a NYS resident, having to prove you own the guns (Handguns only). Even as a NY state resident familiar with the laws, I wouldn’t attempt running the NYC airport gauntlet. They’re just itching to throw law abiding folks in jail. They must get a bonus from The Littlest Mayor.

        • As do I, but the casual reader might think that Matt is in error instead of realizing that the reference is to one of many asinine things that Obama has said.

        • Yeah, that’s a reference to Obama saying there are 57 states (yeah..Islamic states!)

          SamAdams1776 III
          Molon Labe
          Qui Tacet Consentit

      • I used to fly out of EWR (Newark) with a 4-gun pistol box.
        I would have it all locked and sealed, but would have to open the box and show the ticket agent that the weapons were unloaded, right in the middle of the airport. I was always worried that some hoplophobe would scream, and I would wind up shot by some off-duty/undercover cop who sees a chance for promotion.
        All that nonsense to get a “Firearms” tag they want to put on the luggage containing the gun. Brilliant!! Let every baggage thief know where the guns are. I had some good advice from experienced travelers — have them put that damn tag inside the case, so there is no external sign of the gun inside.

        • If they’re putting the tag on the outside of the case, they’re doing it wrong. FAA/TSA regulations were changed several years ago, and now there’s not supposed to be anything anywhere on/about the case that indicates it contains a firearm. If you cover it with SIG SAUER and GLOCK-brand GLOCK stickers, that’s on you, but the airlines aren’t allowed to tie/stick/label it in a way that calls it out.

        • Glad to hear the rules were changed. My experience was back in the ’90s. I never heard of any stupidity like this arrest in those days.

  15. This isn’t the first time this has happened at a NYC airport. People have been arrested because they are changing planes in NY. The pint sized Manhattan Mussolini is as big if not bigger a threat to freedom and liberty than DF. Who is he to destroy lives for the crime of having to travel through his personal fiefdom. I lived in NY 20 odd years but will under no circumstances revisit that city or state. And if you think it’s bad now wait until that Marxist DeBlasio gets elected.

      • I was born and raised in the city, and I will NEVER go back. Well, except for Kosher deli. Maybe.

        Anyway, there was a perfect opportunity for an arrest when Bloomie’s punk bodyguard detective followed and threatened the blogger in DC. But then DC is not a state; it’s a Federal plantation. And rightly so.

  16. That paint job. “You haven’t broken any man made laws so I’m not arresting you. What you’ve done is violate the laws of nature, and we don’t enforce those.”

  17. Makes me wonder what would happen to me.
    If I had to for whatever reason make a stopover at a NYC airport.
    I do after all still posses a NY State permit and do fly a lot usually with some of my guns.
    I cant say what is what up there anymore.
    But I never in the past had any issues traveling with firearms.
    Now as to why he was even arrested is beyond me.
    If he was traveling with checked weapons and traveling through air.
    One would expect to be able to continue their trip.
    I know NY doesn’t recognize nor allow travel through the state say in a car.
    The federal laws for whatever reason don’t apply in NY , never have.
    Now I still posses a valid permit but no longer have a permanent residency there so………………
    This in my situation if it were to occur what my out come would be???
    Probably be tossed in jail too.

    • Are you referring to an unplanned stopover, like equipment failure? If you have to leave the airport (they’re putting you up in a hotel), ask the airline to store your baggage for you. That’s a really good reason to always make sure your carryon at least has a change of underwear in it. That way you could walk out of the airport with nothing but that and be perfectly fine for the night (and legal).

      • No not an unplanned stopover.
        But say I was flying in to see my sister.
        Check my handgun here in Florida get the orange card, stuff it in my case.
        Get off the plane in upstate NY or NYC. Claim my handgun. Go to leave the airport.
        I do still have a NY permit but no longer reside there.
        Do I get away with it??
        Or off to the poky??

        • Actually, I take that back.

          Well, no I don’t, because if you’re going to NYC, my default position is “you’re screwed,” but is your NY state permit a resident permit? If so, and your ID says Florida, I’d say you’re boned. Actually, don’t your guns have to be registered to your permit? Because if they’re not, you’re boned. See a theme here?

          My scientific wild-ass guess is, you’re boned. You might beat the rap, but I doubt you’ll beat the ride.

  18. “Under any sane person’s reading of the safe passage provisions of the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act, that should be fine and dandy.”

    This wouldn’t be the first time New York ignored federal law. The people who want more gun laws won’t even follow existing gun laws.

  19. “A man walked into JFK airport” sounds like the start of a bad joke.

    Not as bad as “a doctor, a lawyer and a priest walk into a bar,” but still bad.

  20. All of the New York laws are unconstitutional and illegal IMO. But they are on the books and until someone forces them to be removed they WILL be enforced. Unless you intentionally want to be the test case, you need to keep that in mind.

    Now, this guy from Tennessee – it says he “walked into the airport…” Where did he come from? How did he get to the airport? By what means did those weapons come to be in New York state, New York city and that airport? There are an awful lot of unanswered questions in this report. As for New York port authority, if the weapons are passing through and their destination is not in New York, what business is it of theirs? TSA should NEVER inform Port Authority of firearms in transit. If they are legal under federal law for transport on an airplane then the local po-po have no authority and should have no interest. It’s not like he was trying to smuggle these guns INTO New York, he was trying to get them OUT of New York. Now if he violated New York (unconstitutional/illegal) laws to get them to the airport, and the Port Authority becomes aware of this before they are checked baggage, that’s a whole different ball game.

    Seems like anyone who would put that paint job on an AK may not be the brightest crayon in the box (and he’s all out of purple), and it would appear that he didn’t properly clear his weapons before packing, so it would not surprise me if he made a lot of other stupid mistakes that day. Hell, just being in, near, or passing through New York is at the top of that list, whether or not you are carrying technically illegal firearms.

    • “TSA should NEVER inform Port Authority of firearms in transit.”

      I agree with your “what/where/how” questions, but I do want to point out that in at least a few cases I’ve heard of, TSA never got involved. It was the airline employee at the check-in counter that notified law enforcement. It may have been that way in this case as well.

  21. Well I would say that is one ugly firearm. However, I do not see anything illegal at all. I have flown with my firearms, and there is nothing illegal about it. Despite what the communists in NY think.

  22. I have read numerous stories where a passenger goes to the counter and the counter personnel call the NYPort Authority over–for an arrest. I seem to recall that this happened last year to some public figure (not a politician) who brought his CCW to him to NY for a business meeting. When he went to check his firearm in at the counter he was arrested and charged with a felony–forget FOPA; the Port Authority contends that as long as you are not in a secure area, you are in NY, and without a registration and permit from NYC, you are a felon. .But if your firearm remains in the custody of the airline you are good to go, take possession, you are fried, as Matt said. Again, I recall a news story where a connecting flight was cancelled, and the traveler retrieved his luggage for the night–he was arrested when he sought to check his pistol. The FOPA clearly protects against arrests–but the cost of litigating such a case is in the thousands and requires the accused to return to NY for the court appearance. Most cop to a misdemeanor and go home. Same for travel by vehicle: the FOPA allows you to travel through with firearms locked in the trunk (the trunk itself is a locked container, but it never hurts to lock the container too). But if you get stopped and searched in NYC (or the entire state of NJ for that matter) you will be arrested and charged under state law for unlawful possession. There was that case where they guy was moving from Colorado and had his .357 in the trunk of his car (after his wife broke up with him and moved to NJ with the kids). He was actually convicted of unlawful weapons possession and sentenced to (either two or seven I think) years in prison, FOPA be damned. I am not too sure I like the ultimate resolution–he dropped his appeal when the governor commuted the remainder of his sentence–which got him out of prison but did not erase the lifetime ban for the felony conviction.

  23. Even in Rahmbo’s Chicago this BS wouldn’t happen. They honor safe passage as long as you are just passing through O’Hare.

    • I’m sure as hell not going to be the test case for that notion continuing to be their standard operating procedure. These anti-gunners get pretty pissed off when things don’t go their way. I could see this changing just to spite us…

  24. If CNN is reporting, we can be sure of their truth about guns:

    its propaganda, not facts,

    and that is old news.

    IMHO, that purple thing is felony ugly.

  25. Didn’t hurt anyone – not even himself and is facing “felonies.” Every day we get closer to a Stalinist nation.


  26. Part of me wants to read the text of the NY law about ‘defaced’ firearms, in case it makes any gun with a factory applied finish done after the part is stamped illegal too. The rest of me thinks the law to be so ridiculous with or without that as to risk popping a vein if read at all.

    • I couldn’t read the whole thing either, but I read this far.

      Ban on Gun Coloration Kits

      The legislative package includes a ban on the use and sale of gun coloration kits, which are used to paint guns in “toy-like” colors. Gun coloration kits are currently available for purchase over the Internet and through gun dealers. These kits are designed to color guns in a number of bright fluorescent shades, making them easily mistakable for toy guns – with potentially deadly consequences for police officers and New Yorkers. This legislation would make it illegal to color real guns to mimic toys. In 1999, the City Council passed a law requiring all toy guns to be certain pastel or fluorescent colors so that children would be prevented from mistaking a toy gun for a real one and so that Police Officers could also make that quick distinction. The availability and use of these gun coloration kits directly contradicts current law and this proposed legislation would directly address that.

  27. When are gun owners going to learn to just stay the hell out of NYC, period? I’ll never set foot there or in D.C. and probably not Chicago either.

  28. NYC has had extremely burdensome firearms laws for decades. When trouble strikes, it arrives in the form of a pair of unlawfully-possessed commercial airliners. If there is a god she obviously has a brutally ironic sense of humor.

  29. Absolutely no conclusions can be drawn from the CNN article. If the man was staying in NYC, he broke the local laws. If he used JFK to travel outside of the city, then this is absolutely in violation of Federal law (aside from the constitutionality issues)

  30. Hey it will only get worse. The nut job Bloomberg will be replaced, it seems, with another nut, deBlasio. The stupidity will continue.

  31. “”It’s unusual, but it’s not remarkable,” Pentangelo told CNN about the case. “Luckily, no one got hurt.””

    Yeah, that purple monster could release hell all by itself inside that plastic case.

  32. So… Theoretical question. According to ATF rules I can make my own gun (receivers etc). These guns cannot be sold unless serialized and I would have to register as a manufacturer(I believe). If I had a flight that was cancelled due to weather conditions and was routed to NYC and had to get my checked baggage and recheck them for a separate flight – does that mean I would be arrested for legally owning a gun with no serial number that I built for my personal use? What if I had a empty 30 round mag with it?

  33. My deepest sympathies, I have had my weapons taken from me before. But at least this guy wasn’t left for dead in the wilderness after being mauled by a bear 200 miles in the middle of nowhere. What I would have given to have a Cinnibon during my crawl across South Dakota. . .

  34. People need to realize that NYC is a fiefdom controlled by an extremely wealthy and connected lord. Mayor Bloomberg.

    In his territory his laws apply, and he has a massive army of police and attorneys to enforce them. What his lordship wants his lordship decrees and gets.

    Best just to stay clear; I would never in a million years even dream about flying a firearm threw a NYC airport.

    His lordship is about to leave thankfully and depart for London which he has stated many times is just a better place to be and that the US should emulate. I hope the door doesn’t hit him on the way out…


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