From Tourist to Terrorist: Or What Not To Do While Traveling Between States With a CCL

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On Saturday, 59-year-old Bobby Glen Jackson, who does security work as a side job, was arrested in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and scheduled to be extradited to New York on Monday to be charged with criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

When Jackson, a concealed carry permit holder in North Carolina, took a trip with his wife and daughter to the World Trade Center, he made a decision that quickly turned him from typical tourist to suspected terrorist: He carried his pistol with him to New York.

According to The New York Times, while waiting in line to enter the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Jackson noticed a sign that read, “Prohibited Items” and had a silhouette of a handgun. He then asked a memorial employee, “whether law enforcement or police officers off duty were allowed to enter armed,” to which the employee answered no. Jackson stepped out of line and returned a few minutes later.

However, before he returned to the line, he stowed his loaded pistol under a couch cushion in the lobby of the World Center Hotel, which is right beside the entrance to the memorial.

He proceeded with the tour, then returned to retrieve his gun about 30 minutes after hiding it. Only the gun was not there and he did not report it missing.

Bobby Glenn Jackson
A screen capture of hotel surveillance video of Bobby Glen Jackson, distributed by the NYPD.

While on his tour, a woman had sat down on the couch, only to discover the loaded handgun sitting beneath her. She informed a hotel employee, who immediately called police. What’s worse is that the gun was discovered at almost the exact same time that the bombings in Boston occurred. So naturally, authorities assumed the worst, feared that the two were connected, and that a New York attack was impending.

Thankfully, there was no attack on New York, and the suspected terrorist turned out to just be a gun owner who had made a very poor, albeit terrible, decision.

Anybody who has watched even a snippet of the news in the last six months knows that New York is not considered a gun friendly state. In fact, New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and they have recently become tougher. Traveling between states can be difficult for concealed carriers as laws differ tremendously by state.

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