WATERTOWN — A Second Amendment advocacy group is going to bat for a truck driver who said his rights were violated when his firearm was confiscated at an entrance to Fort Drum last month.
The group, 2AWNY.COM out of Western New York, held a news conference at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday. Its founder, Steve Felano, began the news conference by describing what happened during an incident at Fort Drum on Nov. 15.
Mr. Felano said a Kentucky delivery driver was making his way to Fort Drum to deliver telephone poles. At the Gas Alley Gate entrance, the driver told military police of a 9 mm pistol he had in his truck, secured in a lock box. An MP confiscated the weapon, which Mr. Felano argues is a violation of the driver’s Second Amendment rights.
“New York’s civilian disarmament flu is apparently so infectious among government enforcers that even troops at Fort Drum, who have spent too much time exposed to Andrew Cuomo’s autocratic empire, have suffered its deranging effects,” Mr. Felano said.
The driver did not attend the news conference, nor did the advocacy group disclose his name, but they did read a statement on his behalf.
“I travel to numerous military bases across the country to deliver needed materials,” Mr. Felano said, reading from the driver’s statement. “In most instances, I’ve carried a lawfully owned pistol for self-defense as I drive long distances through unfamiliar places. At each military base entrance checkpoint, I’ve always voluntarily advised MPs of my firearm, and they’ve simply asked that I responsibly store it off base property while completing my delivery.”
The state police later identified the driver to be Martin L. Barrett, 40, Henderson, Ky. At the Fort Drum entrance, Mr. Barrett’s firearm was confiscated and Fort Drum turned over the case to New York State Police.
Mr. Barrett would later be charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was traveling from Kentucky, a state that doesn’t require a pistol permit. New York state requires a permit, however, and the driver didn’t have the required documentation, which resulted in the charge, said Jack Keller, a state police spokesman.
“He had an illegal handgun in his vehicle,” Mr. Keller said.
Fort Drum is approaching the incident similarly.
“We determined the truck driver did not have the necessary documentation showing that he legally possessed the gun in New York state,” Julie Halpin, Fort Drum’s director of public affairs, said in a statement. “Upon that determination we alerted local law authorities ... It is important to be aware that firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting, not the federal laws of the installation that may be your destination.”
Mr. Barrett was arraigned in Town of LeRay Court on Nov. 15 and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. He surrendered his firearm and was fined $125.