By Dan Roberts
Manasquan, NJ –-(Ammoland.com)- NJ has a long and well established reputation for having some of, if not the most strict Anti Gun laws in the Nation.
These laws, and their co-existent administrative directives are deliberately written and enforced in such a way as to intentionally make the exercising of one's Second Amendment rights as burdensome and difficult as possible, in order to discourage as many Citizens as possible from exercising them.
Otherwise completely innocent and law abiding Citizens, having no criminal record; are as a matter of routine practice, arrested, charged, tried, convicted and imprisoned and have their lives utterly destroyed for technical violations of the laws that have absolutely no hint of intentional criminal conduct attached to them.
Allowing the Legislators that support these draconian regulations to claim their doing something about violent crime, while turning a blind eye on the very real people who are devastated in the process. Brian Aitkens, formerly of My Laurel/Hoboken is only the most recent and high profile example, but there have been many, many, many others.
People such as Thomas Cassidy, a former two service Military Veteran, NJ Dept of Corrections Officer, and Prosecutors Office Investigator who was railroaded by a corrupt and virulent Anti Gun mentality in Sussex County. His story can be found at Sussex County Justice .
People like the infamous case of Joseph Pelleteri, who was found guilty of violating NJ's absurd “Assault Weapons” Ban law, in the mid 90's , because he possessed a .22 caliber rifle that held more then 15 rounds of ammunition in a fixed magazine tube, a rifle he won in a contest and placed in his safe without ever firing it. In fact,when authorities seized the weapon in question, it was noted that the manufacturers tags were still on it and it was obvious the firearm had never been used. A judge in this case famously was quoted as saying that “when it comes to NJ and guns, the Citizen acts at his peril”.
People like Utah resident Gregg Revell, who was enroute to Allentown PA to purchase a car and drive it across the Country. Mr Revell flew into Newark Airport, but his connecting flight to Allentown was delayed by a day. Mr Revell stayed in a hotel near the airport and in full compliance with Federal Law, declared his legally owned and possessed firearm at the ticket counter when he checked in the next day. Mr Revell was summarily arrested, paraded past 100's of onlookers in public and incarcerated for 10 days in the County Jail with hardcore offenders and gang members.
His offense? “Carrying” an unloaded, and locked in a case firearm without a NJ issued Permit to Carry, something that is impossible for any normal, law abiding Citizen to obtain.
The economic impacts on the State as a whole are equally as bad.
NJ is all but bankrupt, and has the notorious distinction of having one of the highest costs of living in the Country. Our unemployment rate is almost a full percentage point higher then the Nation, standing at 9.0 %. Numerous companies that specialize in outdoor enthusiasts and firearms owners, that could provide 1000's of jobs, and tens, if not 100's of millions of dollars of tax revenue to the State, flatout refuse to even consider opening stores in NJ because of its draconian gun laws. Stores like Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's and others, that are Fortune 500 firms, with large and well established markets up and down the East Coast and Midwest, but completely absent from NJ.
So, instead of spending their hard earned money in State, contributing to local, regional and the State's economy, NJ Sportsmen and Women travel to other bordering States where the gun laws actually make sense and these stores are located, and spend their money there.
Congratulations are in order for the significant number of NJ Legislators who blindly swallow the Anti Gun hyperbole and obstinately support legislation and policies which drive their own constituents to spend money in other States.
Great Job everyone ! That is the very definition of “good governance” !
New Jersey the Garden State
Contrary to popular belief, NJ is not just urban sprawl and the decayed Cities like Camden, Newark,Trenton, Bayonne, Jersey City, Paterson, etc. The entire Northwest corner of the State is very rural, and in many ways resembles the foothill and mountain areas of well known sportsmens meccas in other States. The entire Southern half of the State, where I was born and raised and still reside is even less urbanized, with 100's of thousands, if not millions of acres of State and privately owned hunting land and safe areas to shoot.
In fact, my hometown doesnt even have an ordinance against discharging a firearm within town limits as long as appropriate safety and caution are used. Yet it is illegal for me to take my lawfully purchased and owned pistol, after having passed no less then three criminal background checks to my mothers home a mile away to shoot with her or instruct her, as her private property is not considered a “registered shooting range” as proscribed by the NJ State Police. I grew up being taught how to shoot on 8 acres of land by my father. It was routine in the fall hunting season for my friends and I to race home from school, change into Camo and Hunter Orange and walk down the shoulder of the road with shotguns slung over our backs and Police Officers never even blinked at such a sight. We regularly rode our bikes to friends houses in the area with .22 rifles to engage in the timeless boyhood tradition of plinking at cans and other assorted items to claim our version of the title of “Top Shot”.
It is a felony if I stop to pick up a friend for a trip to our gun club and have my handgun in my vehicle, even if I am in full compliance with the States firearms transport laws because such a deviation is not deemed “reasonable“. Its also a felony if I stop at a Diner, Fast Food Joint or even a Wawa to grab a bite to eat on the way home after a day hunting or at a competition, because once again, such a stop off doesnt fall under the State Police definition of “reasonable and necessary”.
What do these idiotic policies and administrative rules prevent?
They certainly dont prevent criminals from carrying out their acts, because even a 5 year old understands that a criminal is by very definition someone that doesnt care about or follow the law, and shootings by criminals are reported daily across the State. The absurd manner in which the Legislature and Prosecutors treat firearms regulations actually result in preventing people from spending money in a myriad of ways, money that would go into the local, regional and State economies.
I recently attended the Grand Opening of a new Gun/Pro Shop attached to my local club, South Jersey Shooting Club and Bangers Sport Shop. That a new small business has opened in the worst economy in generations is notable in and of itself. That its a firearms related business in a State with such draconian gun laws is herculean. I will be sitting down with the owner later this week and writing another column on the genesis of the new shop and reporting on the administrative roadblocks and hurdles the owner had to contend with in order to open.
South Jersey Shooting Club is a premier facility in the region, fully capable of hosting any number of various organized shooting competitions on the local, Regional and National Level. It is also conveniently located roughly a half an hours drive west of Atlantic City.
How many additional tens of millions, if not 100's of millions of dollars are bypassing the State and region because potential competitors are terrified to even enter the State to compete because of the very real fear that a technical violation of NJ's absurd gun laws will result in them being arrested and potentially destroying their lives trying to defend themselves?
Again, the Legislature's blind adherence to the thoroughly debunked premis of gun control having any meaningful effect on violent criminal activity doesnt come anywhere close to actually accomplishing its stated goals and instead results in the State losing untold amounts of tax revenue and tens of thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities for the residents.
Nevada opened the Clark County Shooting Range outside Las Vegas a few years ago, and it has been an instant hit, drawing local residents and tourists in droves and even hosting the Nationally Televised 3 Gun Championship ( aired on NBC Sports Network) a few months ago. The only thing standing in the way of similar exposure, revenue, jobs and tourism is the Legislatures outright refusal to place NJ's 40 year old outdated and thoroughly UN Constitutional gun control statutes under a microscope and examine them with ruthless attention. Apparently thats to much work for our elected officials, who would rather save their ruthlessness for innocent Citizens, while pandering to the the agenda of the various Gun Control Groups and releasing catchy soundbites about how tough they are on crime.
In closing, a well deserved standing ovation is in order for the members of the Legislature who have proven by word and deed how utterly unfit they are to hold office if they can not take a honest look at the unconstitutional and negative impact of New Jersey's arcane gun laws.
More articles, commentary and information by Dan Roberts available at That Every Man Be Armed.com