Tenn.Tourist Tries to Check Loaded Gun at 9/11 Memorial: DA

Meredith Graves had a full carry permit in her home state, but that doesn't make her firearm legal in New York.

By Katherine Creag and Katie Honan
|  Thursday, Dec 29, 2011  |  Updated 1:05 PM EDT
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A Tennessee tourist learned New York gun laws the hard way when she attempted to check her loaded pistol at the 9/11 memorial once she realized she couldn’t carry it on the grounds. 

Meredith Graves, a 39-year-old registered nurse, and her husband drove to the Big Apple for a job interview at Long Island's Brookhaven Memorial, reports The New York Post. While in town Dec. 22, she decided to visit the 9/11 memorial and noticed a sign that said "No guns allowed."

Rather than leave, Graves, a fourth-year medical student, asked police where she could check her loaded .32-caliber pistol.  

A guard directed her to another area, where she was arrested. She was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapons, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

Graves has a legal permit to carry a weapon in Tennessee, but New York's gun laws are among the strictest in the nation. Though authorities tell the Post they don't believe Graves' intentions were malicious, the law is the law. 

"This is New York City and ... you're coming to the 9/11 memorial site, common sense says don't bring a gun," Joe Daniels, president of the 9/11 Memorial, told NBC New York. "Regardless of this woman, we have laws that need to be applied uniformly. Just don't bring a gun."

The Post says Graves posted $2,000 bond and is due back in court March 19. 

Graves' lawyer, Daniel J. Horwitz, told NBC New York "this is an unfortunate situation that we expect to be able to resolve."

She faces three years in prison if convicted.      

The memorial opened to families and dignitaries on Sept. 11 and then to the public the following day. Officials are expected to announce Thursday that the site has had 1 million visitors since opening to the public.

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