A bodyguard who has protected outspoken moviemaker and gun-control advocate Michael Moore was arrested at Kennedy International Airport for allegedly carrying a pistol without a New York license, authorities said Thursday.
Patrick Burk, 34, faced arraignment on a felony charge of criminal possession of a weapon. Prosecutors did not have his attorney’s name.
Burk was questioned by police Wednesday night after he notified a United Airlines ticket agent that he wanted to carry his weapon — unloaded and in a bag — on a flight to Los Angeles, said Port Authority spokesman Tony Ciavolella.
The bodyguard, who works for the California-based security firm Gavin de Becker & Associates, told police he had traveled to New York with Moore earlier this month, Ciavolella said. He produced licenses for his Mauser handgun from California and Florida, but not New York, which prompted his arrest.
Moore spokesman Mark Benoit said the filmmaker “wasn’t there and had nothing do with this.”
Burk has been assigned to protect Moore at times in the past but is not his personal bodyguard, Gavin de Becker said.
De Becker defended Burk, saying he had followed proper procedures at the airport. He called him “a leading professional in his field.”
Moore, the director of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” won the documentary Academy Award for 2002’s “Bowling for Columbine,” a scathing look at the gun culture in America.
In an interview last year with Playboy magazine, Moore called the National Rifle Association a “radical, freaky group.”
“Most Americans are with me on this,” he said about stricter gun controls. “They understand duck hunters don’t need Uzis and cop-killer bullets.”
When asked to comment Thursday on the arrest of Moore’s bodyguard, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said: “Based on empirical evidence, this is the height of hypocrisy.”