Diane Watkins is a school teacher who happens to possess a concealed carry permit in the State of New York. While not entirely impossible to get a concealed carry permit in NY, it is pretty much unheard of to get one if you live in the city. Watkins does not live in the city, but lives in Rochester.
At the end of May 2014, Watkins was on a field trip with ten students to NYC. When they got to the Statue of Liberty, that’s when the day took a bad turn. While going through security, they found a .38 revolver in Watkin’s purse and immediately took it from her and arrested her for criminal possession of a firearm.
A permit holder in NY that does not live in NYC, can carry anywhere in the entire state…except NYC and it’s boroughs. To carry in NYC, you must have an entirely separate license granted to you. This task though, is next to impossible.
The National Park Services, which maintains the Statue of Liberty, has since 2010 allowed firearms inside many areas provided the gun owner is carrying legally for the city or state . As noted on the park’s website, “The role of the responsible gun owner is to know and obey the federal, state, and local laws appropriate to the park they are visiting.”
So, charges against otherwise law-abiding Watkins are moving forward. While it is absolutely the responsibility of the firearm owner to be aware of the laws, we can only hope that maybe, just maybe, someone will think “Hey, we should take a look at the current laws and possibly change them so that they make sense.” Then, we woke up.