The leader of a Tea Party group was arrested at LaGuardia airport Thursday, and charged with gun possession.
Mark Meckler, co-founded the Tea Party Patriots, was taken into custody as he tried to check in for a light to Detroit with a locked gun box.
The Queens District Attorney's Office says he was illegally traveling with a pistol, which he disclosed during a flight check-in Thrusday morning.
"He didn't have a correct understanding of the law," said Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which polices the area's main airports. "Though he has a permit to carry in California, that did not cover him in the state of New York."
Meckler, 49, allegedly told investigators he carries the gun because he receives threats, but does not have a permit to carry it in New York. He resides in California.
He was released pending a Jan. 12 court date. If convicted on the gun charge, he could face up to fifteen years in prison.
With the Associated Press