Given the recent muscle added to the NBA’s firearm policy and D.C.’s existing law regarding handguns, it is conceivable that Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas could face some heavy fines in coming weeks – perhaps even land in jail.
Details: More on Gun Incident
In the District of Columbia, carrying a pistol without a license is a felony that carries a fine of up to $5,000, according to The Washington Post. But more important, since super-rich athletes like Arenas are unfazed by such penalties, a felony charge could also mean a maximum five years in prison. If the charge is prosecuted as a misdemeanor possession of an unregistered firearm, he could be looking at a possible one-year sentence.
Aside from the justice system, the NBA has its own penalties to impose once those issues are resolved. Under the league collective-bargaining agreement of 2005, Arenas faces a fine of up to $50,000 and a suspension that is at the discretion of notoriously strict Commissioner David Stern.
Meanwhile, Arenas is backpedaling from his original ho-hum attitude about the ordeal. Initially, he laughed it off as a mere joke, smiling to reporters as he explained how he came to display the guns for teammate Javaris Crittenton, with whom he had a previous argument over a gambling debt.
"Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong," Arenas said. "I should not have brought the guns to D.C. in the first place, and I now realize that there's no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns – even if unloaded."
"I am very sorry for the effect that my serious lapse in judgment has had on my team, my teammates, the National Basketball Association and its fans," Arenas said. "I want to apologize to everybody for letting them down with my conduct, and I promise to do better in the future."
Arenas contends that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker to get them out of his house and away from his children, according to SI.com. He said he mistakenly believed that recent changes in D.C. law made it legal for him to store unloaded guns there.
The Associated Press reported Monday that two officials within the league said that the incident stemmed from a dispute over card-playing gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room on Dec. 21.
Mark Bartelstein, Crittenton’s attorney, said Monday that his client did nothing wrong.