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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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Plaxico Was Set Up

If you don’t follow sports or have been living under a rock lately, you might not know who Plaxico Burress is. He is a football player, who plays for the New York Giants, the same team that beat our beloved Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl. He’s had a good career and has made a ton of money because of his talent. However, in sports, we always see athletes make incredibly stupid mistakes, see: Vick, Michael. Plaxico Burress adheres to that statement.

On November 28th, Mr. Burress decided he wanted to go out to a nightclub with a teammate because he wasn’t playing that weekend due to an injury. At the club, Burress was enjoying himself with some drinks and friends. While at the club, Burress was in possession of a handgun, which fell from his waist and when he went to catch it within his sweatpants, he accidentally shot himself in the leg.

The above story illustrates the utter stupidity of some famous athletes. But there is a story within the story: New York law does not grant possession permits to non-residents and does not recognize out-of-state possession permits, although it does recognize out-of-state same sex marriage. Go figure. Because of this absurd law, Burress, who lives in New Jersey and works in NJ and New York, cannot obtain a permit.

Since Burress cannot obtain a permit, he is forced to carry his firearm with him illegally. After the shooting, Burress went to the hospital and the NYPD gained knowledge about it. As the investigation unfolded, the police realized he was carrying the gun illegally. New York City has a ridiculously draconian law that states if a person is found to be carrying a firearm illegally, it carries a minimum three and a half year prison sentence.

Now I am not excusing Burress for his action, but this was preventable. Mayor Bloomberg has laws on his books that are against the Second Amendment right to bear arms, which was affirmed earlier this year in the Heller case. If Burress was able to successfully obtain a permit from New York as a non-resident, or if New York actually recognized the Florida permit, he would just be an idiot for not properly securing his gun. But now, he could be a criminal.

If I was Burress’s lawyer, I would appeal this case. Based on several arguments, one being from David Kopel of the Cato Institute, the New York gun laws can be shown to be unconstitutional. District of Columbia v. Heller, a case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year guarantees an American’s right to possess a firearm for private use, and, knowing that, think about Burress’s life. He has notoriety because of his profession and has witnessed football players in the past years attacked and killed by thugs, so he obtained a gun permit in Florida for protection. Now that he lives and works in New Jersey and New York, he still maintains that notoriety and still will need a firearm for protection, especially in the biggest metropolis in the country. The New York laws place an undue burden and discriminate upon Burress’ right to possess a handgun legally.

To say Burress was set up is an understatement. After the incident occurred, Mayor Bloomberg was said that “it would be an outrage if we don’t prosecute to the fullest extent of the law”. So much for a fair trial. If New York had sensible laws, Mr. Burress would have received his license-to-carry permit based on Florida giving it to him, with a background check. Instead, he is fighting for his freedom due of New York’s stupidity.