Dwayne Ferguson has been an active, well-known public supporter of gun control efforts for many years. He helped pass New York’s new gun control laws last year. But he was recently arrested for accidentally carrying his permitted concealed handgun on school property. The criminal penalties and prison time that he faces could be substantial. The irony here isn’t that he has a concealed handgun permit. What is most interesting is the argument that is being made to justify him carrying a handgun at the school. From the Buffalo News:
He was among local activists who stood with Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes last year lobbying for a law that would make possessing a gun on school property a felony. Prior to New York State’s adoption of the SAFE Act last year, in response to the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut, it was a long-established state law that guns could not be brought onto school property. The only difference was that the crime carried less punishment as a misdemeanor.
In an ironic turn of events, Ferguson was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon under that law for Thursday’s incident. The law carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in state prison. . . .
Ferguson’s supporters are now making arguments about how permitted concealed handguns help make places safer.
“The more they make these gun-free zones, the more they make people vulnerable to mass killers like at Columbine and Sandy Hook,” said Stephen J. Aldstadt, a Colden resident who serves as president of the state Shooters Committee on Political Education.
Some of Ferguson’s supporters echoed similar criticism, saying that carrying a weapon meant Ferguson could have helped police in the event there was a gunman actually threatening students.
“Dwayne probably was in a position to help the police not knowing that he was the one they were looking for,” said George Johnson, president of Buffalo United Front.
Ferguson often carries a gun during the course of his business day, Giles and Johnson said.
“Mental lapses happen,” Giles said. “Things happen. It’s an unfortunate mistake. Dwayne was not conscious that he was in school with a gun.” . . .