Who believes that carrying a firearm into iconic, highly secured New York landmarks is a good idea? Metal detectors are designed to expose weapons, not belt buckles, yet clueless tourists keep getting hauled into court for packing heat at the Empire State Building. Now some Marines are claiming that Indiana native Ryan Jerome, himself a Marine who was arrested for trying to check his .45 Ruger with authorities in September, is more equal than others who have made the same mistake.
The Post reports that a letter writing campaign is targeting Police Commissioner and Marine Vietnam veteran Ray Kelly, asking that the charges be waived for their "brother." "It's definitely emotionally devastating, looking at maybe facing 3 1/2 years in prison," Jerome tells the paper. Honorably discharged in 2005, Jerome is now a jeweler, and had come to New York with $15,000 worth of gold to a Long Island refinery. He claims that he tried to check to see if his Indiana permit would be accepted here, but "a cellphone glitch confused him." Jerome was arrested trying to check the weapon at the Empire State Building.
Per the Empire State Building's website, only officers of the "New York City Police Department, New York State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Secret Service," and the State Department are allowed to carry firearms in the observatory.
"The theme is not to have Mr. Jerome treated like a common thug. He deserves to be treated better," Boston attorney and Marine veteran Dave Bruce said. The Post suggests the "irony that someone so highly trained and trusted to keep America safe might be thrown into prison," but the truth is that ignorance, or service to one's country, can't be used to circumvent the law.