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Have Gun, Will Travel—Not in NYC

A Georgia man was handcuffed and jailed in mid-June for allegedly storing a gun under the mattress in his New York City hotel room. According to New York Daily News, Terrell Coleman, 31, was in lower Manhattan on vacation with his fiancée celebrating her birthday. Police say he holds a current license to carry permit in Georgia and thought he could legally carry in New York State.

Housekeeping staff at the DoubleTree where they were staying found the loaded .45 Glock while cleaning the hotel room. Coleman was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.

Last month, over Memorial Day weekend, a North Carolina man was charged in New York after a gun was found stored under his Bronx hotel mattress. Torrie Flock, 23, a forklift driver from Charlotte, said he was in New York City as a tourist. He checked out, then returned and told motel staff he had left his gun and was returning to pick it up.  Flock had forgotten to pack it when he checked out. After making the call to hotel staff, he was met by police when he showed up to claim it. He now faces criminal weapons charges.

This is a question of three things. Proper gun storage. Reciprocity of gun license. And the dangers of not remembering you have your gun. In case you never read my own account of when I forgot I had my gun with me, here’s my story.

Let’s begin with the gun storage. Under-the-mattress storage in general is a horrible idea, anywhere. You cannot get to your gun quickly, or easily. And mattresses are heavy—you either have to lift a heavy, unwieldy object to get to your gun, or you have to pull it out with force and hope it doesn’t snag on something. Too much can go wrong here.

The other problem here is that the housekeeping staff was probably just doing their job, changing the bed sheets when they came across the Glock. It’s fortunate there wasn’t an accidental discharge in the handling of the gun.

Next is an issue that affects many who drive to travel destinations, and that is permitting reciprocity. New York requires a state license to possess a firearm and offers no reciprocity with other states for concealed carry or general gun possession.

Finally, if you bring your gun to a friend’s house, hotel, gym locker, or your car’s glove box, you must remember that you have it. Put a rubber band on your wrist or a note in your suitcase about it or something to make sure that you see it and it triggers (no pun intended) a reminder that you have your gun with you and need to get it.

As gun owners, it’s our responsibility to know the law—the laws of the state in which we carry and store our guns, and the laws of any state we travel to. The state laws are not at all the same across the board.  This information is widely available on the internet. Yes, it will take you a few minutes to look it up, but you have to do it anyway. There are no excuses.

In some states, there is the option of applying for a non-resident concealed carry permit. Choose a state that has wide reciprocity to allow far reach for your permit.

Who knows if these two individuals were illegally carrying concealed during their stay in The Big Apple. But regardless, they were breaking the law just by having unpermitted guns from the get-go and now they are facing a felony and potential prison time.

Know the law and keep out of trouble.

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