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Guns, Knives, Body Armor at Holland Tunnel: 3 People on Way to NYC Arrested

Three people were caught on an alleged vigilante mission with an arsenal of weapons


Thats a tricked out SUV!

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) - Three people were caught on an alleged vigilante mission with an arsenal of weapons, during a routine traffic stop at the Holland Tunnel on Tuesday, authorities said.

John Cramsey, 50, and Dean Smith, 53, both of Zionsville, Pennsylvania, and Kimberly Arendt, 29, of Lehighton, each face several weapons charges. They were arrested as they passed through the tunnel around 7:40 a.m.

The group claimed they were vigilantes on their way to "extricate" a teenage girl who was being held by a drug dealer, police said. Initial reports said the teenage girl was in Queens, though Facebook posts from Cramsey indicated the girl was believed to be in a hotel room in Brooklyn.

Before getting busted with the cache of weapons, police said the trio of suspects certainly was not going for subtlety when they decided to head into the Holland Tunnel.

Their big-wheeled sport-utility vehicle was hard to miss, trimmed with neon paint and plastered with decals for Higher Ground Tactical – a Pennsylvania gun range. Cramsey is the owner of the gun range.

A port authority policeman stopped the SUV when he noticed a crack on the windshield. He told driver Smith to step out, police said.

"And upon approaching the motor vehicle, the officer observed in plain view a loaded pistol magazine," said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police Supervisor Michael Fedorko. "He had the driver exit the vehicle, and when then driver got out, he noticed a .45-caliber handgun on the driver's seat."

Inside the SUV were:

A pump action shotgun with a pistol grip and collapsible stock

An SAR-98 Salamander Arms assault rifle

7 clips of ammunition for the rifle

4 9mm pistols

1 .45 caliber pistol, with several magazines

A Kevlar bullet resistant helmet with camouflage cover

Tactical goggles

Night-vision goggles

Body armor

Some of the guns were loaded, police said.

Sources said the suspects told police they were on their way through the city to rescue a friend who was being held hostage by a drug dealer.

NBC news said that three people were arrested today transporting multiple loaded weapons, rifles and ballistic vests at the Holland Tunnel Tuesday when police stopped them for driving with a cracked windshield, authorities tell NBC 4 New York.

The three people, two men in their 50s and a woman in her 20s may be from Pennsylvania. Police stopped them for unknown reasons on the New Jersey side of the tunnel around 8 a.m., authorities said. A search of their vehicle revealed the weapons cache.

Police confiscated weapons, including long-range weapons as well as handguns. A camouflage helmet with what appeared to be night goggles was also recovered.

Two senior law enforcement officials say the three suspects are so-called "gun enthusiasts" and have no nexus to terror. There is no known threat.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force is assisting in the investigation, police said.

New York City, Buffalo, Albany, and Rochester have enacted their own assault weapon bans. Law enforcement and retired law enforcement are exempt from the assault weapons ban.

Gun enthusiasts can easily run afoul of he law in transporting weapons, because different US States may have very different laws for handguns. For example, in New York State, no license is required for long guns. New York State has a handgun ban in place. Exceptions are to those who own a license. They are normally restricted to three types, residence or business premises permit (must issue generally), Target & Hunting and Unrestricted Carry. Target and hunting allows carry while engaged in those activities. Unrestricted allows carry at any time. All permits issued outside of New York City are not valid in New York City, EXCEPT for retired police and federal law enforcement officers with that status marked on their permit, and for armored car guards on duty. The minimum age to be issued a handgun license is 21 unless you are a former or current member of the armed forces or law enforcement.

As for Concealed Carry Permits (CCWs), New York issues CCWs on a "may issue" basis for residents and part-time residents. CCW Issuance is different by county. Generally it is harder to obtain a permit in counties closer to large New York cities.

(l-r) John Cramsey, 50, Kimberly Arendt, 29, and Dean Smith, 53, were arrested at the Jersey City entrance to the Holland Tunnel with an arsenal of weapons, as they headed into New York City for an alleged mission to "rescue" a teenage girl, authorities said. (Credit: John Cramsey, via Facebook)

Most Counties that aren't a part of downstate New York have shall/reasonable issuance policies, but may administratively restrict where you can carry your weapon (such as only for target shooting or hunting). It is not a crime to carry a weapon under a Target or Hunting permit for other purposes, but if caught or reported the permit will likely be revoked. Concealed carry without any kind of permit must be charged as a felony unless the weapon is unloaded and no ammunition for it is in possession of the person carrying. All permits are effective throughout the state, except in the city of New York, unless validated by the police commissioner of that city, NY Penal Code 400.

While New York law does not allow issuance of permits to non-residents, 2013 federal appeals court and State appeals court rulings clarified the residency requirement. This clarification allowed those domiciled outside of the State, with a part-time residence in New York, to be issued a permit at the discretion of the licensing officer.


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