Thursday, September 23, 2004

KABC TV news reported this afternoon that LA's Il Duce of anti-terror, John Miller, was stopped at LAX security for trying to carry a loaded gun onto a plane. The gun was in his carry-on luggage and apparently he just forgot it was there. Dumb!

From what we know, Miller has one of those nearly impossible to get LAPD permits to carry a concealed weapon. Miller, like William Bratton, is not a sworn peace officer. They're both civilian employees of the LAPD. Therefore the only way they can legally carry a gun is to obtain a civilian carry permit, something denied to the average law abiding Angeleno. The funny thing is, as chief of police Bratton had to apply to himself to get a permit. Naturally, he gave himself one. And Miller has one as well. They're pals and go back a long way and hey, what are friends for if you can't get a carry permit out of it?

Bratton comes from the New York City old boy network of permit patronage. In New York City, you're not even allowed to own a handgun in your house, let alone carry one, without a permit from the NYPD. Traditionally, any well-heeled and connected New Yorker has always had an easy time getting a permit to carry. New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, a big time anti-gunner, has one. So does Howard Stern, comedian Pat Cooper and dozens of business people and celebrities. In our own fair state of California, the same rules apply. Notorious anti-gun advocate Dianne Feinstein for years had a permit to carry, but said she gave it up. So does/did James Caan (he might have had his revoked, we hear). And of course, Robert (I forgot my gun in Vitello's) Blake. It might surprise a lot of Angelenos how many anti-gun Hollywood celebrities have permits to carry while they contribute to anti-gun groups like Sarah Brady's HCI. Sarah herself got into hot water when she bought a gun under her name and gave it to her son as a birthday present. Under one of the many laws she favors, this was an illegal transfer and she should have gone to jail.

LA celebrities don't get their permits from the LAPD. Like Blake who established a paper residence in Culver City while living in the Valley (LAPD jurisdiction), a lot of the elites establish residence in permit-friendly jurisdictions. Ted Cooke, the retired chief of Culver PD was very liberal in doling out permits and looking the other way on the issue of residence. That's where Caan got his. Edward James Olmos got his from the LASD. Permits are issued locally but are good all over the state. So if you have a second or third or fourth home somewhere in a rural permit friendly county, or Culver City, you're good to carry in Bel Air or Malibu.

But getting back to the John Miller incident. Miller's permit is only good in California. California carry permits are not recognized by any other state because California does not recognize any other state's carry permits. This means that when Miller landed in New York, merely being in possession of a gun without a local permit to carry or own would have put him in flagrant violation of New York City weapons laws. After all, he's no longer a New York resident and that disqualifies him from owning or carrying a gun or even being in possession of a handgun in New York City. What the hell was Miller going to do with his piece when he got there? It is illegal to bring a handgun into New York City. Motorists from other states have been arrested in the Big Apple and their guns confiscated merely for carrying unloaded guns in the trunks of their cars while passing through town. Same with Chuck Schumer's New Jersey.

The truth is, the New York cops would probably give Miller a pass and let him carry. After all, there are two sets of laws in the U.S. when it comes to personal defense. One that applies to the rich and mighty. And one that applies to the rest of us whose hides aren't worth as much. The right of self defense is one reserved for the elite and not us mere proles.

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