Was it because he doesn’t play football or because he deserved a stupidity premium for jumping subway turnstile while armed?

Seven years imprisonment for carrying pistol in NYC

A Manhattan PATH rider was sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison — and another 3 1/2 years’ parole — after cops stopped him for fare-beating and discovered an illegal handgun.

Ruben Sanabria, 37, was caught with a loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson at the 14th Street station March 30.

Two cops grabbed him after they saw him hop the turnstile, and quickly found the weapon in his waistband.

Sanabria was also carrying extra bullets and a holster.

He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, which has a maximum sentence up to 15 years.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said Sanabria got what he deserved.

“This defendant illegally carried a loaded semiautomatic firearm into a public transportation system used by thousands of people every day,” Vance said.

“Preventing gun violence is one of my top priorities as district attorney, and I will make sure that this office continues to seek strong sentences for crimes involving firearms.”

Uh, Mr. Vance? The crime here was fare beating, and didn’t involve a firearm. I’d like to think there was more to this case than merely carrying a gun “in a place used by thousands of people every day” an act that can be done with impunity in most other states at, say, shopping malls. That football player, Plaxico Something, was sentenced to a year in prison for the same crime, and the public was told he’d received such a harsh sentence ‘to send a message”. What makes this poor jamoke a better poster child?  Is the back story here a prior history of violent crime convictions or is it Newtown? It makes a difference; to me, if not to NYC’s publicity-crazed district attorney.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Was it because he doesn’t play football or because he deserved a stupidity premium for jumping subway turnstile while armed?

    • That’s a bit of an explanation, but the term “cop-killer bullets” used to describe the hollow point bullets found in the guy’s possession is pure nonsense, hyped up jargon to sound scary. Hollow points, which expand on impact to cause more damage than full metal jacketed bullets are indeed more deadly, but “cop killer” is stupid – the bullets don’t discriminate, and are not at all unusual. FMJs are indeed cheaper, and often used for target practice for precisely that reason, but for personal defense and stopping power, hollow points are the ammunition of choice, for policemen and civilians alike.

      Hypo: what if the defense for a lighter sentence was that the ammunition wasn’t hollow point? Do you think the prosecution would have considered that in mitigation?

      • Anonymous

        His crime was fare beating….but it was ALSO carrying an illegal loaded gun!! You are so blinded to the real problem here!!

    • D

      I don’t get the cop killer moniker either – FMJ or Hollow Point would still be stopped by a kevlar vest, which is definitely standard for all beat cops. When I think of cop killer I think of a modified round that’s meant to pass through a kevlar vest – hence actually able to kill a cop wearing a vest. Hollow Point rounds will actually be stopped by the vest easier because they are softer metal…

  1. ML

    I think it’s more for being a habitual offender because 7 years for possession is ridiculous. Even 1 year in the case of Plaxico was absurd. However, his firearm did fire albeit on himself so maybe it was justified??

  2. Anonymous

    i am surprised he didnt shot the cops..probably would have gotten away ..and if caught he would have been sentenced to 20 years out in 12 …like the cop killer who was recently sentenced, he wasnt given life in prison b/c he said he didnt mean to do it …WTF

  3. Anonymous

    sean combs and jLo can wave a piece around a night club and speed away ..plaxico burress fires when inside a night club, ray lewis was an accessory to murder …this guy goes into the can for an extended stay …perhaps you should have represented him

  4. Inagua

    “The crime here was fare beating, and didn’t involve a firearm.”

    The crime he plead guilty to was illegal gun possession.

    http://manhattanda.org/press-release/da-vance-announces-sentencing-ruben-sanabria-possessing-semi-automatic-firearm-path-st

    • I interpret “crimes involving firearms” to mean a crime separate and distinct from the possession of a gun – like armed robbery, or rape, or assault or carjacking. I’m not saying it isn’t a crime in New York to have an unlicensed gun, but that gun wasn’t “involved” in turnstile jumping, an infraction.

  5. weakleyhollow

    Could the crime have been carrying a poorly made weapon?

    • I agree that if you carry a Smith & Wesson made in the past few decades you probably deserve what you get, but perhaps the poor guy just took what was available from his street dealer – can you punish a man for someone else’s failure to offer a proper inventory?

  6. Libertarian Advocate

    I call it the penalty for stupidity. If you are carrying a gun in NYC without benefit of a carry permit and you fare beat, then you are certifiable moron.

  7. armonk

    Plaxico B served more than one year. He actually had a permit for the gun but it was not valid in NY City. The guy in the subway will probably be out in 3 years. I think in most places a person has to have a permit to carry a concealed loaded handgun in shopping malls.

  8. RaisedinRiverside

    NYC has extremely strict gun laws – everyone knows that. If some moron gets caught with a loaded handgun he doesn’t have a permit for, he deserves to be punished. This isn’t Montana or Arizona — people have to have some accountability and know the laws for the place they’re living in/visiting.

  9. Fred2

    “The crime he plead guilty to was illegal gun possession…”

    I’m pretty sure (based on no evidence at all) that the prosecutors, as is their wont, piled on 170 other petty “crimes” that would be served consecutively and they plea bargained to this.

    My feeling is that “carrying,” so long as you did nothing wrong with it, other than break some administrative prohibition, the penalty should be confiscation and a fine. That might involve something more if you had other strikes against you like you were a ex-con, or some other class of person who has other reasons to be prohibited.

    Of course it would be easier if NYC allowed normal civil rights in this regard, so normal decent citizens could carry.

    • Inagua

      “I’m pretty sure (based on no evidence at all) that the prosecutors, as is their wont, piled on 170 other petty “crimes” that would be served consecutively and they plea bargained to this.”

      You could be very sure (had you bothered to look it up) that he was charged with three offenses — theft of services, resisting arrest and illegal possession of a firearm. The last was the top count because it carried the harshest penalty. Virtually all prosecutors will accept a guilty plea to the top count because judges rarely increase punishment for lesser included offenses.