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Guns and the NFL

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The big story this week in the NFL is of course Plaxico Burress. Burress was accidentally shot in the leg when the unregistered handgun he was carrying went off in an NYC nightclub. Burress turned himself in to police and will be charged for carrying an unregistered firearm. If convicted, Burress faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years in prison. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to make an example of the WR.

"I don't think that anybody should be exempt from that," Bloomberg said. "It would be an outrage if we don't prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

Not prosecuting celebrities would make "a sham, a mockery of the law," the mayor asserted.

The mandatory sentencing would not necessarily apply if Burress is offered a plea bargain.

Defense lawyers said prosecutors are loath to cut a deal. "The DAs ... have been very hard-nosed on this," said veteran criminal defense lawyer Martin Geduldig. "They expect jail time."

The Eagles have been no stranger to gun incidents as Reuben Frank points out today. There was the minor Jabar Gaffney arrest, Broderick "Desert Eagle" Bunkley had several of his guns stolen, and the most serious was the shooting of Jerome McDougle a few years ago. In the past year we've seen Shawn Taylor be shot and killed and Richard Collier paralyzed by a gun shot.

After seeing what happened to Collier and Taylor it's hard to blame a player for wanting to protect themselves, but as Lito Sheppard says it's about responsibility.

"You've got to know when and where you can do things,” Sheppard said. "You don't want to put yourself in that position. Mine's always been registered. And I try not to carry it half the time. Even if I have to use it, do I really want to use it?”

"Anybody in this profession, you get a lot of publicity on TV, but you still like to do normal things, can be a target. I still like to go Wal-Mart or the mall. You're definitely a target. You just hope you don't get put in a bad situation.”

I have to agree with Lito here. I can fully understand an NFL player feeling the need to carry protection and I can't say I'd do any different if I were them. However, it's about being responsible.