MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A Tennessee woman is facing several years in prison under New York's tough gun laws after she brought a loaded handgun to the 9/11 Memorial last week.
Police arrested Meredith Graves, 39, for carrying a .32-caliber pistol to the entrance of the lower Manhattan memorial on Dec. 22, according to the criminal complaint and reports.
Graves, a fourth-year medical student visiting New York for a job interview, forgot she had the piece in her purse when she arrived at the memorial, the New York Post reported.
She then asked police stationed at the site where she could check the firearm, quickly landing her in handcuffs when cops realized she was not law enforcement, the Post reported.
Graves is charged with second-degree weapons possession, which carries a minimum of three-and-a-half years in prison. The Post reported she has a carry permit for Tennessee, but that does not apply to New York City.
A Legal Aid attorney who represented Graves at her arraignment is no longer on the case and did not know who she had retained as new counsel.
She is currently free on $2,000 bail and due back in court on March 19.
The head of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum said the ban on weapons at the sacred site should not come as a surprise to anyone.
"People should not bring guns to the site. It's so obvious — you shouldn't have to say it," president Joe Daniels told DNAinfo Thursday.
Not even retired police officers are allowed to have weapons at the site.
In late September, DNAinfo reported that retired police who arrived to pay respects at the Ground Zero site were angry at a city policy to include them in the ban on all registered weapons entering the property except for on-duty officers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday that this was not the first person to try to bring a weapon onto the 9/11 Memorial property, only to discover they couldn't bring it inside. A loaded .38 caliber handgun was found Tuesday under a table near metal detectors that screen visitors before they enter the Memorial, the Post reported.
With Julie Shapiro