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March 7, 2014
February 28, 2014
By Jeff Knox
Another professional athlete is in hot water over a gun. New York Knicks starting Point Guard, Raymond Felton Was arrested on February 25 on two felony gun charges. Unlike the NFL’s Plaxico Burress, who was illegally carrying a gun in a New York City nightclub and accidentally shot himself in the leg, or fellow NBA player Gilbert Arenas who had several guns in his locker at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, DC, and involved them in a “practical joke” threat against another player, Felton’s crime involved having a single, loaded handgun in a bag under the bed in his apartment. The only thing that made the gun illegal was the fact that the apartment is in New York City.
Felton was originally reported to be facing a minimum of three and a half—and a maximum of seven—years for just the primary charge of criminal possession of a firearm. Later reports indicate that prosecutors went with two downgraded felony charges that carry one-year minimum sentences, and a misdemeanor. Both minimum sentences can be substituted with community service and probation at the judge’s discretion. There are a slew of other state and city charges that could have been stacked on if prosecutors had wanted to, including the crime of having too many rounds in a magazine under New York’s new SAFE Act.
There could be more to this story; there are claims that Felton had previously used the gun to threaten his wife during arguments, but those claims are unsubstantiated. She was the one who gave the gun to police though. Mrs. Felton had her attorney take the gun to a local police precinct while her soon-to-be ex-husband was playing a game against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. She had filed for divorce a week prior and claimed that she was scared to have the gun in the house.
If Felton threatened his wife with a gun, there is no excuse for that, and he deserves to face consequences for it, but that is not the charge. Under the current charge, Felton’s only crime was to have a loaded pistol in his own home without special permission from the government—something that should never be a crime, and only is in a handful of places in the US. Contrary to what the politicians and the media would have us believe, the “gun culture” is part of the dominant culture in this country. It is an integral part of the American culture, which values God, hard work, self-reliance, morality, hospitality, history, family, and individual liberty.
Unfortunately for Felton, he stumbled into one of those places in America where the culture has been eroded by a vocal minority that has been working for decades to undermine the dominant American culture. In this new “improved” culture there is no right or wrong, except in the eyes of the law – which no longer has anything at all to do with justice.
In North Carolina, where Felton is from, owning a gun is relatively simple, and just about everyone who can afford one has one. There’s also still a bit of that Mayberry attitude down there where police and prosecutors are a little more concerned with peace and justice than law and order. For Felton, like so many of us, having a gun in the house could be as normal as having furniture. He might have known that he wasn’t supposed to have one in New York City, but what’s the harm? It’s nobody’s business what he has under his bed—right? But New York City isn’t Mayberry, and Raymond Felton isn’t Opie Taylor.
As a gifted athlete and NBA star, Felton is probably used to getting special treatment. And even though it doesn’t seem like it, he’s getting special treatment in this case. Were you or I to get caught with a gun in New York City, we would probably be facing 10 years, not just 1, and there’s no way we would have walked out the same day on just $25,000 bail. But even with the special star treatment from NYC, Felton is looking at a serious situation. If he doesn’t play this right, it could mean not only jail time and a loss of his rights forever, it could easily mean the end of his career and a loss of millions of dollars. I wonder if his future ex-wife thought about that loss of income aspect before she made the decision to give the gun to the police?
It would be nice to see Felton fight this on Second Amendment grounds, but he’ll probably cop a plea to some lesser charge and do some community service. He might not even get stuck with a felony. Meanwhile, rather than institute a program to help ensure that their players are safe, responsible gun owners, the leadership of the NBA will undoubtedly make some stupid suggestions about banning players from owning firearms, and give Felton a slap on the wrist. And New York will keep right on persecuting people for exercising their fundamental right to arms—even in their own homes—because that’s the way the ball bounces.
©2014 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Posted with permission.The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!