Free Meredith Graves

The Manhattan district attorney is reported to be in plea-deal negotiations with Meredith Graves, the nurse who faces serious felony firearms charges after bringing her Tennessee-permitted .32-caliber pistol to Ground Zero, apparently unaware of the fact that New York declines to recognize out-of-state concealed-carry licenses, and that New York City declines to recognize even New York State permits. Ms. Graves, upon seeing the no-guns sign at the memorial, naïvely asked a security guard whether it would be possible to check in her pistol; this attempt to comply with the posted rules resulted in her arrest, and could well result in her being sent to prison — for years. If reports of a plea bargain are accurate, then District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. recognizes that justice would not be served by this outcome, which speaks well of his sense of prosecutorial discretion. It would speak even better of him if the case were to be dismissed entirely, along with the similar prosecution of former U.S. Marine Ryan Jerome, who was arrested under similar circumstances.

New York City may not be full of people who believe in American Exceptionalism, but it is stuffed to the gills with people who believe in New York Exceptionalism, and it maintains a firearms-regulation regime that may be unconstitutional and certainly is far more strict than the practice of most of the rest of the country. So draconian are its laws in the matter of concealed firearms that the plain dictionary meanings of words commonly are discarded: Ms. Graves stands to be convicted of a violent felony, even though she plainly had no criminal intent, much less violent criminal intent. Likewise, a person may be charged with carrying a loaded gun even when the gun is in fact unloaded and kept in a locked carrying case, if the ammunition is kept in the same case. Under New York law, up is down, unloaded is loaded, and an innocent error is a malicious crime of violence.

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  • Chris Ohmes

    A man could live so that Saint Peter would throw open the Pearly Gates and welcome him into Heaven with open arms; and yet regularly run afoul of the U.S. legal system. It is a travesty that we have blithely allowed our legal system to become unmoored from mens rea.