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Posted: 7/30/2011 4:59:30 PM EDT
Learn something new everyday:


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Friday, September 17, 2010
LAW OF THE SEA: MARINERS BEWARE IN NY WATERS

Thousands of vessels enter U.S. ports everyday, many carrying firearms to protect their crews, passengers, and cargo against pirates and terrorists.  So why would NY City Police arrest a federally licensed ship captain in NJ for unlawful possession of a handgun aboard a 95 foot sailing yacht?

A vessel’s captain is responsible for the safety of his crew, passengers, and vessel, so Cpt. Paul kept a semi-auto .45 caliber pistol aboard for defensive purposes.  He sailed from Florida into the Port of NY & NJ en route to Rhode Island.

Before entering the Port, he radioed Customs to announce his arrival.  His vessel and crew were cleared for entry.

Federal law and regulations permit mariners who transit out and in territorial waters to carry up to 3 semi-auto firearms and up to 1,000 rounds of ammunition for personal self-defense.  New Jersey also allows unrestricted firearms carry aboard boats, NJSA 2C:39-6f(4), however, by Interstate Compact New York has jurisdiction on the Hudson River up to the New Jersey shoreline.

Of course there is no sign on the Harbor to explain this confusing patchwork of laws, so Cpt. Paul was no doubt surprised to learn that NY City Police would be arresting him for unlawful possession of his handgun.  He was doubly surprised to be arrested by NYPD while docked in New Jersey.

A U.S. Coast Guard boarding team boarded his sailing vessel after it entered the Port.  Cpt. Paul, a former CG boarding officer and experienced ship’s master, was accustomed to such safety inspections.  There were no violations, but the boarding team escorted his vessel into Newport Marina in NJ.

Once there,  NJ State Police examined Cpt. Paul’s handgun.  It was unloaded and had been locked in a cabinet separate from its six round magazines.  Since the bullets were not hollow-points, and Cpt. Paul volunteered having the weapon before being boarded by the USCG, NJSP had no issue with Cpt. Paul and bid him farewell.

Nonetheless, a NYPD harbor unit then arrived and it also examined the handgun.  Cpt. Paul was escorted down the dock and arrested by NYPD for having possessed  a handgun in NY waters.

Cpt. Paul offered to surrender the firearm in exchange for his freedom, but apparently that offer was rejected by the Ass’t District Attorney.  So, the good Cpt. spent the night locked up with common criminals.

non-residents from transporting firearms into the Empire State.  Exceptions are only provided for transport to a NRA shooting competition or NRA training class.

LEOSA, 18 USC 926B, C applies over state and federal waters, but it only protects qualified active and retired LEOs.  Cpt. Paul is a former LEO, not a retired one.

The Federal Firearms Owner’s Protection Act, 18 USC 926A (FOPA) of course trumps NY law for citizens transporting guns through any state.  But, it only applies to vehicle transport.  So, any of the thousands of mariners who carry arms into NY and other waters after they transit international waters are subject to the whims of state law and local enforcement.

However, the Obama Administration recently argued in a case against the State of Arizona that the Federal government has exclusive control over immigration and foreign affairs.  If that is the case, then the Federal government also has exclusive control over the temporary import/export of defensive firearms by mariners who travel across international waters.

It also has authority over the interstate transport of firearms under the Commerce Clause, and Congress may extend FOPA to include vessels and aircraft, but has not yet done so.

What about the 2nd Amendment?  The case against Cpt. Paul presents an ideal test of McDonald.  McDonald held that the 2nd Am. protects the right of a citizen to have a firearm in his home for self-defense.

NY’s law burdens that core right because it bans all possession by nonresidents who may sail their homes into NY.

Cpt. Paul’s home seven months per year is a 95 foot sailing vessel.  He contends that he has as much right to defend that home and his family against pirates and terrorists as he does against common criminals and rapists.

Certainly, New York City can reasonably regulate the possession of firearms that leave an airport or sea port, but banning all mariners from entering its waters with a firearm contradicts Federal law.

NY’s law presents a total ban.  A mariner entering the Port of NY cannot apply for a “premises” permit in NYC, because NY requires “residents” to obtain a permit before they enter with a firearm.  Since Cpt. Paul is not a resident of NYC and will likely never be, he would not qualify for a premises permit or a NYC carry permit.

The modern U.S. Supreme Court has not  addressed these particular facts, but the Scott decision’s statement that citizens may carry arms wherever they go has not been overruled in over 150 years. ♣
Link Posted: 7/30/2011 6:06:06 PM EDT
Very interesting!
Link Posted: 7/31/2011 1:22:00 AM EDT
The tri state area scares me.
Link Posted: 7/31/2011 2:49:56 PM EDT
Federal law and regulations permit mariners who transit out and in territorial waters to carry up to 3 semi-auto firearms and up to 1,000 rounds of ammunition for personal self-defense.


Uhhhhh, what?  That's something I've never heard of before, and I do the maritime LE thing for a living.  As far as I know, there is no law restricting how many and what types of firearms may be carried aboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the US.
Link Posted: 7/31/2011 4:55:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By freerider04:
Federal law and regulations permit mariners who transit out and in territorial waters to carry up to 3 semi-auto firearms and up to 1,000 rounds of ammunition for personal self-defense.


Uhhhhh, what?  That's something I've never heard of before, and I do the maritime LE thing for a living.  As far as I know, there is no law restricting how many and what types of firearms may be carried aboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the US.

Welcome to territory that is "Always Behind Enemy Lines" as our old HTF shirts say.
Link Posted: 7/31/2011 5:27:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2011 5:27:22 PM EDT by 240shwag]
Originally Posted By njJoniGuy:
Originally Posted By freerider04:
Federal law and regulations permit mariners who transit out and in territorial waters to carry up to 3 semi-auto firearms and up to 1,000 rounds of ammunition for personal self-defense.


Uhhhhh, what?  That's something I've never heard of before, and I do the maritime LE thing for a living.  As far as I know, there is no law restricting how many and what types of firearms may be carried aboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the US.

Welcome to territory that is "Always Behind Enemy Lines" as our old HTF shirts say.


See bolded, underlined, red part. Enemy lines are now the entire USA?
Link Posted: 8/5/2011 3:15:46 PM EDT
NYC has it's own hand gun laws you can't bring one in period! NY state you can travel thru the state as long as it is un loaded ammo must be locked up separate from hand gun which must be locked up if you take it out your screwed there use to be a sign on my street at the state line that read ilegal to bring a hand gun in to ny
Link Posted: 8/7/2011 3:34:44 PM EDT
When i was working in HOboken, like decades ago, we would have floaters come into our piers, NYPD patrol boats would always respond.
NYC is ridiculus, are they still hassling out of states cops carrying?
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 7:03:14 PM EDT
I guess that's for taking Ellis Island.
Link Posted: 8/14/2011 1:29:38 PM EDT
And Delaware has jusidiction in part of NJ, something about that circular part of the top of their state that extends to NJ.
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