Tea Party leader Mark Meckler pleads guilty to "disorderly conduct" in NYC gun case

Mark Meckler
Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party

(CBS) NEW YORK - A New York City prosecutor said on Thursday that Mark Meckler, a high-profile Tea Party activist and founder, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after trying to take his semi-automatic gun onto a flight at La Guardia Airport.

Meckler, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, was arrested last month after he tried to check in for a Delta flight to Detroit with a Glock pistol and 13 rounds of ammunition, reports CBS New York.

Meckler declared the weapon, as required, and kept it in a locked gun box. But authorities say Meckler wasn't even allowed to have the gun in New York. Although he's licensed to carry the weapon in Grass Valley, Calif., where he lives, authorities said that license isn't valid in New York.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for the Port Authority Police said, "It's not a case that Mr. Meckler was in transit. He was in New York for several days having that weapon illegally. The bottom line is he violated the law."

In a blog post on, Meckler wrote, "much to my surprise, in New York City, it is considered "disorderly conduct" to exercise your constitutionally guaranteed, Second Amendment rights."

He told authorities that he carries the gun because he has had death threats.

Queens D.A. Richard A. Brown said prosecutors resolved the case by balancing the need to protect the public against Meckler's personal error in judgment, according to CBS New York.

Meckler was fined $250 and given a one-year conditional discharge, meaning the case will be dismissed as long as the Tea Party leader says out of trouble for a year. Authorities also confiscated his weapon.