Mike Bloomberg: Having An Illegal Gun In New York Isn't Quite As Bad If You're From Out Of State. Sorry, Plaxico

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Plaxico Burress: nearly two years in prison for possession of illegal gun. Former marine Ryan Jerome: 10 hours of community service -- thanks to a sensible plea deal and a rational judge.
Last week, we told you about a former United States marine who was sentenced to 10 hours of community service for possessing a gun that wasn't registered in New York state.

We noted that Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who's led the charge in calling for stricter gun laws across the country (despite his jurisdiction extending no further than the five boroughs, the mayor's taken it upon himself to investigate gun shows...in Arizona), hadn't made a peep about the seemingly light sentence for the marine -- which seemed a little strange considering how vocal he was about wanting to throw the book at former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress when he was busted with an illegal gun.

We asked the mayor's office for comment on the slap on the wrist former marine Ryan Jerome received last week. We were ignored. Now, however, Bloomberg's offered us a response -- and it doesn't quite jibe with comments the mayor made when Burress first got popped (after famously shooting himself in the leg) in 2008.

When Burress first was arrested, Bloomberg (as mayor, mind you) decided that the eighth overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that anything short of the 3 1/2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence would be a "mockery of the law."

Burress -- during the prime of his career -- ended up doing two years in prison. As we mentioned, Jerome, who's from Indiana, will have to perform 10 hours of community service.

So, is the mayor outraged? Not quite -- apparently Jerome gets a pass because he's from out of town.

"I think [sentencing] depends on the circumstances. I don't know...some of these out-of-towners come here and, in all fairness, they might not know about our gun laws," Bloomberg tells the Voice, "although you would think they read the papers...but that's why you don't have an automatic everything. You have a judge who makes intelligent decisions and makes decisions based on their experiences."

Fair enough -- and we'll ignore the fact that Burress lives in New Jersey -- but that's coming from the guy who decided, without the help of a judge (or intelligent decisions), that the book needed to be thrown at Burress.

As we pointed out last week, the two cases aren't identical -- but they're similar enough that there shouldn't be (in our humble opinion) this vast a difference in how the two men were punished.

For starters, Jerome didn't accidentally shoot himself at a crowded night club. He was arrested in September when he tried to check his .45-calibur pistol with security at the Empire State Building while sightseeing.

In New York, loaded guns are rarely permitted outside of a home or business -- even if they're registered with the state -- which is not the case in other parts of the country, where gun laws are a bit more lax (in other words, "red states" like Indiana).

Jerome's weapon is registered in Indiana, where he has a concealed weapons permit. That permit, as he learned the hard way, doesn't extend to New York.

Jerome, according to various media reports, including one from the Washington Post, told police he checked New York's gun laws before bringing his weapon on his trip to the Big Apple -- he claims he must have mis-read them.

He also told police that, as someone who makes a living dealing in precious metals, he carries the gun on him for protection from people who may want to rob him.

Burress' gun wasn't registered in New York, either. It was, at one point, registered in Florida, though. However, when he shot himself in the leg, the Florida permit was expired.

Expired or not, as we pointed out last week, it's not like Burress bought the gun out of the back of some guy's car and was using it to hold up liquor stores -- he bought it legally in a different state, and failed to re-register the gun when his permit expired.

Like Jerome, Burress also says he carried the gun for protection -- as a multi-millionaire celebrity in a sport with a history of its athletes being the targets of robberies, you can't blame the guy for thinking he needed to carry a piece.

Regardless of the circumstances, the two men broke the same law. Jerome, however, got a slap on the wrist, while Burress lost two years of his life.

We wouldn't argue that Jerome belongs in prison. We will argue, however, that Burress didn't belong in prison -- and it's unfair that Bloomberg apparently gets to pick and choose who deserves to have the book thrown at them, and who doesn't.

Moral of the story: if you have an illegal gun in New York City, you'd be well served to also have an Indiana mailing address.

*Sam Levin contributed to this post.


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19 comments
ron.warrick
ron.warrick

There's no difference between discharging a firearm and trying to check one? Gimme a break.

DEVASTATED
DEVASTATED

This is why there is so much HATE in this cruel, crooked country. My family member is serving 15yrs for being SLEEP IN HIS CAR, AND AWAKEN BY THE POLICE, WHO illegally SEARCHED HIS VEHICLE. The GUN WAS FOUND, HE IS A CONVICTED FELON IN POSSESSION. so you can finish the rest of the story with the MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE. PSI REPORT CLEARLY STATES THAT HE IS A LOW-LEVEL DRUG DEALER/ADDICT who made a bad decision, and BAM.  Talk about going to SLEEP, and waking up too a NIGHTMARE THAT WILL LAST 13yrs-8mths.  WOW, that's what's up AMERICA.

Payton_vege
Payton_vege

Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

Heywoody_99
Heywoody_99

What does Indiana being a "Red" state have to do with anything? Answer: Nothing, except as an attempt to portray Indiana as a state full gun toters, who shoot people whenever they feel like.Why does the article compare a black football player to a white former Marine? Answer: No reason in particular, except to play the race angle.The two cases were as different as day and night, as was pointed out by many other responses. Had the white guy accidentaly discharged his weapon in a nightclub, I am sure his sentence wouldn't be community service.Stop with the race angle, it has nothing at all to do with this case!

Abyuser
Abyuser

Let me remind you that Plaxico was not only unlicensed in NYS, but he was unlicensed in NJ where he was living - AND the FL license he did have was expired.He made efforts to conceal the evidence - hiding the gun.

Both NY and NJ have peperwork requirements prior to possessing handguns.

AND he was in a nightclub with his firearm.

*AND* he discharged that firearm in a nightclub...

On top of all that, apparently the team TOLD the players not to carry guns. So he KNEW he was breaking the law.BIG difference from the quiet uneventful ignorant tourists getting arrested trying to check their guns in................

Jason Walker
Jason Walker

 If Jerome had a license to carry in his home state, but Plaxico wasn't licensed to carry anywhere but fired his unlicensed gun in a public place, then their cases are totally different. Even if NYC has a unique registration scheme for all weapons, being licensed to carry in your home state changes things.

How did I know that someone was going to cry "racism!"?

Bob Honiker
Bob Honiker

I'm not even tempted to visit NYC again anyway, once was more than enough.

Suzinne
Suzinne

I thought Plaxico Burress got a raw deal.  Ironic though, he's a dead ringer for the subway groper!

Dave T
Dave T

James,I completely agree with you.  In fact I, I think Plaxico should have gotten community service, and Jerome should have had his charges dropped.  It served no public good to even force Jerome into the plea agreement.

I would like to correction on one point, however.  You refer to Plaxico's gun being 'registered' in Florida, and he neglected to register it here in NY.  What you (and most New Yorkers) fail to realize is that handgun *registration* only exists in a handful of states - NY, NJ, CA...maybe one or two others.  Plaxico's handgun never needed to be registered.  In most states, if you have a licence to carry, you can carry any handgun.  'Registering' your handgun is completely foreign to most people coming to New York from America.Dave TNRA & Utah Certified Pistol Instructor

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry

It might have something to do with how Jerome's gun-owning behavior was generally more responsible, just ignorant about New York law.

Burress shot himself at a nightclub, and failed to keep his gun registered, two things which don't really speak to his being a responsible gun owner. Burress is lucky he only shot himself, and didn't kill some innocent bystander.

If Jerome had also been caught after he shot himself like a damned fool, you might have a point.

I suspect that someone who gets caught with an expired car registration when they visit DMV probably gets treated more leniently than someone whose expired car registration is discovered after plowing through a convenience store's front window.

dwtruland
dwtruland

And I suppose the fact that Jerome is white had nothing to do with it. He might have even gotten away with wearing a hoodie!

guest
guest

I believe Burress is a NJ resident, so officially an "out of towner".

Rademacher
Rademacher

Good riddance. We'll just keep transferring our tax dollars to whatever hellhole you live in.

James King
James King

Ahhh. Noted. Thanks, Dave. I lived in Arizona for six years but I'm not really a gun guy, so I never worried about it. Yeah. Neither one of these guys should have gotten anything more than a hefty fine and maybe community service, in my humble opinion. Plax isn't a criminal. The NFL has security consultants who basically tell these guys "hey, you're gonna get robbed." He should have just registered the gun, granted, but two years in prison? That's bull shit.

Dave T
Dave T

Clarification: Plaxico's handgun never needed to be registered in *Florida*.  To carry it in NY, he *would* need to obtain a NY license and register the handgun.

James King
James King

That's a good point. But the expired tag has nothing to do with the vehicle slamming through a store front window, the same way the expired registration had nothing to do with Plax shooting himself. That's just irresponsible gun-ownership, and the law's the law.The mayor has been screeching to anyone who will listen that gun laws are too lax, basically saying, "the law that let Jerome off with 10 hours of community service isn't strict enough." Apparently, now there's different degrees of the law Bloomberg wants to make more strict, and that Burress and Jerome both violated.My point is that the mayor is sort of talking out of both sides of his mouth. Just yesterday, he called for stricter gun laws because of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Yet, today he's saying "well...I guess there are exceptions to the law I want to make more strict."I don't necessarily disagree with the mayor's wanting to make gun laws stricter, I just wish he'd be a little more consistent about it. I do, however, think Plaxico Burress spending two years in prison was an injustice -- and I'm (sadly) a Bills fan.

James King
James King

Indeed -- figured I'd give the mayor the tri-state area, though.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry

Yeah, two years was excessive. I guess that's the penalty for "being irresponsible with a firearm while black".

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