An Indiana jeweler and former Marine who had faced felony gun possession in New York City earlier this year has accepted a plea deal that will keep him out of jail.
Ryan Jerome, 28, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor weapon possession and must serve 10 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine after a lengthy court battle, according to The Washington Post. Jerome was arrested in September during a business and pleasure trip to New York City, when upon visiting the Empire State Building and noticing a sign alerting patrons to check all weapons with security, he attempted to check his .45-caliber Ruger and was arrested.
Jerome said he had purchased the handgun legally in Indiana for protection, as he was transporting $15,000 worth of gold to a Long Island refinery, and though he had researched New York's gun laws, admitted that he must have misunderstood them. The gun was indeed legally licensed in Indiana, but handgun possession is a felony in New York City regardless of whether it's legally registered, and carries a mandatory 3 1/2-year prison sentence.
"I'm happy with the outcome," Jerome told reporters. "I definitely did not know it was illegal to bring a handgun to New York City."
His subsequent court battle won praise from Second Amendment supporters, and even from former New York Gov. David Paterson, who told a radio show that Jerome "shouldn't be prosecuted."
Prosecutors had previously offered Jerome a misdemeanor deal in February, but he rejected the deal at the time. His arrest came just a few months before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took to the airwaves during the Super Bowl claiming to support the Second Amendment.
How big a win is this for gun owners everywhere?