If you’re a Mainer who owns a firearm and plans on traveling through New York, you’ll want to take note of what happened to Steve Golieb.
The 29-year-old natural foods producer and Millinocket Town Council member says he learned the hard way that things one can do in Maine are not always allowed elsewhere.
Golieb was hauling construction equipment in a trailer attached to a pickup truck from south Florida to Massachusetts on Dec. 9. Golieb was in New York, and following the instructions from his GPS, he got onto the Taconic State Parkway.
That was his first mistake.
The Taconic is about 105 miles of scenic parkway connecting Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Columbia counties. Unfortunately for Golieb, it is also among 36 parkways in southern New York State that are closed to commercial traffic.
Driving a trailer on it carries a minimum fine of $138.
“The police pulled me over right before the end of the highway,” Golieb said. “It was horrible timing.”
Golieb’s second mistake was that he had his 9mm Springfield XDM handgun.
Maine law permits such weapons to be carried visibly and without a permit but requires any carrier to announce the presence of the weapon to police upon being pulled over, which Golieb said he did immediately.
According to New York law, Golieb was in violation of criminal possession of a firearm in the second degree, said New York State Trooper AJ Hicks, a police spokesman.
That’s a felony that carries a 3½- to 15-year prison sentence.
“They were perplexed that I would have a gun or announce it,” Golieb said. “They kept asking, ‘Why do you have it?’”
The only way Golieb could have gotten his handgun through New York without facing criminal charges, Hicks said, would have been to mail it, and only through carriers licensed to ship firearms.
“It’s not like he was smuggling weapons for the IRA,” Hicks said. “He just had a weapon, and the law does not allow us discretion in this matter.”
Golieb said he found the experience bewildering.
“I was basically so amazed that anyone could find themselves in a circumstance like that where the only option for most people would be a minimum sentence of 3.5 years in maximum-security prison,” he said.
The case against Golieb is not listed in the New York State Unified Court System website, although Hicks did verify the arrest. Golieb said the case has been “adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.”
Under New York law, that is a form of pretrial probation that allows for the release of a defendant on his own recognizance and a dismissal of the case within six to 12 months unless the state restores it to the court calendar.
Golieb said he was grateful to put the situation behind him.
“Most people don’t have the resources to hire a decent lawyer or know enough about the law to make their situation any better than the minimum sentence,” he said.