Remember a few years ago when then-New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unregistered handgun at a Manhattan night club? And how Mayor Mike Bloomberg said it would be a “mockery of the law” if Burress received a sentence that’s anything less than the 3 1/2-year mandatory minimum?
Yesterday, a former U.S. marine, who was busted in September with an illegal gun, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapon-possession charge. Under the deal, 28-year-old Ryan Jerome — who initially was charged with the same felony gun charge as Burress — will avoid jail time.
Burress, as you may remember, spent nearly two years in the hoosegow. Jerome will do 10 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine.
Seems like a “mockery of the law,” if you ask us — yet, the mayor has been, and still is, mum on the case (even as former Governor David Patterson, and others, have argued that the charges against Jerome should have been dropped).
There are a few differences in the two cases — for starters, Jerome didn’t accidentally shoot himself at a crowded night club.
Jerome, who lives in Indiana, was arrested in September when he tried to
check his .45-calibur pistol with security at the Empire State Building
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 popped a cap
into his own leg, the Florida permit was expired.
Expired or not, 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 a little extra protection.
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 — which happened to be during the prime of his career.
If that’s not a “mockery of the law,” we don’t know what is.
Mayor Bloomberg’s office tells us he’s in Singapore at the moment. Our request for comment was forwarded on to someone who “handles all the gun stuff” down at City Hall. We’ll let you know if we hear back.