Tea Party Leader Busted for Airport Gun
Mark Meckler faces felony weapon charge in NY
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2011 3:33 AM CST
Mark Meckler, seen here at a press conference last month, was released following arraignment.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – In what he must surely consider an example of government overreach at its worst, a leading Tea Party activist has been arrested at New York's LaGuardia Airport for trying to check in for a flight with a gun and ammunition in his luggage. Mark Meckler, co-founder and chairman of the Tea Party Patriots, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, which is a class C felony, the New York Daily News reports. Meckler's Glock 27 pistol was registered in California but not in New York.

Meckler "legally declared his possession of the firearm in his checked baggage at the ticket counter as required by law and in a manner approved by TSA and the airline, yet was arrested by port authority for said possession," his lawyer says. The charge against Meckler carries a maximum of 15 years in prison but prosecutors say that since the weapon isn't illegal and he is licensed to carry it in his home state, he will probably walk away with only a fine. The Glock, however, will be confiscated and destroyed.