New York Knicks’ guard Raymond Felton’s struggles on the court are now the least of his worries. Felton was arrested early Tuesday morning and has been charged with three offenses under New York law for the unlawful possession of a firearm. The charges came after Felton’s wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, turned his FNH 5.7 x 28mm semi-automatic handgun over to authorities on Monday.
The Belgian-made handgun is common among military and police forces. The weapon can be loaded with ammo capable of piercing bulletproof vest, as well as other types of body armor. Felton’s gun was loaded with an 18-shot clip when Raymondo-Felton turned the gun over.
Raymondo-Felton, a 26-year-old law student at Fordham University, reportedly turned the gun into the police because she did not want it in the couple’s apartment. The couple has been married for 19 months but they are currently going through a divorce, initially filed by Raymondo-Felton.
There are conflicting reports on whether or not Felton deliberately threatened his wife with the handgun. The New York Post reported that, according to a law enforcement source, the couple has had four verbal altercations since July and during the last argument, Felton pointed his gun at his wife. However other sources make no such claim. CNN reported that Raymondo-Felton said she was never threatened with the gun, but told police that he held the gun during their arguments.
On Monday, Raymondo-Felton waited until Felton left for Madison Square Garden for the Knicks’ game against the Dallas Mavericks and called her divorce lawyer, who advised her not to keep the gun. The lawyer then called Felton’s lawyer, Michael Stutman, offering to send him the handgun, but Felton’s lawyer refused. Stutman said, “I don’t think anybody is allowed to possess an unregistered, unlicensed firearm in the city of New York.”
Raymondo-Felton and her lawyer then turned the gun over to the police, who called the NBA and Knicks security. After being approached in the locker room after the game, Felton eventually turned himself over to police and was arrested for the gun charges in the presence of his lawyer. Felton was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday for criminal possession of a weapon in the second, third, and fourth-degrees. He was released on a $25,000 bond.
As former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress can attest to, New York is one of the strictest states in the country on guns. Burress, who accidentally shot himself in a New York City club in 2009, received two years in prison for the firearm charge.
Felton’s most serious charge is second-degree criminal possession, which is a felony charge with a minimum sentence of three and a half years. If Felton were convicted of all three charges, he would face a maximum sentence of 23 years.
Prior to Felton’s arrest on gun charges, the Knicks guard had been playing poorly and the Knicks considered trade options before last Thursday’s trade deadline, though a trade never went through. Last week, Felton referenced problems with his personal life, stating, “You try not to let it come into your job, into your workplace, but sometimes it does. You’re human and it’s a part of life.”
By David Tulis