On December 22, 39-year-old Tennesseean Meredith Graves brought her loaded .38 pistol in her purse to the 9/11 Memorial and, after she asked a guard if there was a place she could check it, was promptly arrested. She posted bail on Wednesday and yesterday at least one local pol started pushing for lenience (she faces a minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years on a single felony weapons-possession charge) since her gun was properly registered in her home state. Also, police say that besides the gun Graves, a fourth-year medical student, had "two envelopes of what they suspected to be cocaine" in her purse.

Graves is not yet facing any drug charges as the Manhattan DA's office is "awaiting test results before considering charges." Meanwhile, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. stepped forward yesterday to ask Cy Vance to go easy on Graves. "By prosecuting this woman and seeking 3 1/2 years of jail, we are shooting our own [gun-control] efforts in the foot and giving the rest of the country ammunition," he said.

"Clearly, the laws are too strict here," he continued, "but that’s something we need to work out for ourselves without honoring licenses to carry guns in states where felons can carry them."

Mayor Bloomberg, however, is having none of it. Especially considering he personally has been going around telling people about our gun control laws. Really, why doesn't a woman in Tennessee follow the mayor of New York City's public schedule? "Number one, I don’t know why anybody doesn’t know what New York state gun laws are," he told reporters yesterday. "We’ve been talking about it, we’ve been testifying in Washington, we’ve got a coalition of 650 mayors trying to tell everybody that guns kill people and we should enforce the federal laws."

Of course, lots of people do agree with hizzoner. Even in Tennessee. "I feel that is a part of my responsibility as an armed citizen to attempt to stay on top of the laws and regulations that affect me while carrying my handgun," Adam Hunter, a gun owner from Cookeville, TN, told the Tennessean.