That is right, the openly institutionalized Anti Gun Bigotry that is practiced in NJ is so over the top that an otherwise innocent citizen, having absolutely no prior record of any kind, could face incarceration in state prison if found guilty of a simple clerical error.As more people become aware of what has happened to Mr Kaleda, I have been deluged with reports from other persons around the state concerning similar injustice. But I have yet to discover another New Jersey resident pursued to the lengths that Mr Kaleda has been pursued by the New Jersey State Police. That is not to say those cases don't exist, merely that I have not heard about them yet. I seen random reports of New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card applicants being advised that one or more of their answers to the ten specific questions asked on the Firearms Purchaser Identification card application were "wrong" ( also known as false). The applicants were permitted to come in and make the necessary correction with no reprisals. Other applicants reported having their New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card application denied, forcing the applicant to appeal that denial to the County Superior Court and having the denial overturned. I have found no other instance where the New Jersey State Police has detained an Individual Firearms Purchaser Identification card applicant for a clerical error. There are any number of potential explanations for why some mistakes on the FID card Card application are handled simply by allowing the applicant the opportunity to change their answer(s), as opposed to treating them like a hardened criminal involved in a deliberate effort to deceive.
Things as unpredictable as the personal views, opinions or biases of the Officer who accepts the completed paperwork. To the Officer that actually conducts the formal background check and review of the application at the local or State level as the case may be. To an Officer at the State Police Firearms Investigation Unit, or the local Chief of Police who signs off and approves the ID Card, even the Prosecutor in the town/municipality where the applicant lives. All have the discretionary authority as to how to handle clerical errors on the application.Friendly with the local Chief or politically connected or powerful? Chances are 9 times out of 10 you will be offered the opportunity to make changes with no repercussions or simply have your application denied without being referred for charges. The case of Camden City Councilman Curtis Jenkins is a perfect illustration of this in practice. Curtis is quoted in the linked article as saying he was "unaware that he was required to report a non violent offense" on his Firearms Purchaser Identification card application. As far as I can determine, Curtis was never charged with a criminal offense of "providing false information" and his Firearms Purchaser Identification card Card and related paperwork and pistol purchase permits were quietly revoked and turned over with no further action. Does Curtis' excuse make him any less guilty of the offense? The Firearms Purchaser Identification card application is pretty clear on the question of whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime (Question 20). It makes no distinction as to whether or not the crime one was convicted of was violent or non violent, its based on the possible sentence that could have been handed down upon a finding or plea of guilt. So, a City Councilman, in one of the most dangerous cities in the country, makes a rather large "mistake" on his Firearms Purchaser Identification card application and it is handled relatively quietly. With the appearance of an investigation as little more then Kabuki theater and not much else. Certainly NOT the issuance of an arrest warrant or charges being filed.
I've been saying for years, in New Jersey, when it comes to the application of gun laws, it is Orwell's Animal Farm" come to life.Which questions on the New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card application are the most problematic and likely to ensnare the unwitting? I will raise the most troublesome ones and provide examples of how they can trap people in no particular order: Question #17 States: "Are you subjected to any Court Order pursuant to Domestic Violence? " Given the fact that the application is a type of Background Check Form asking repeatedly about criminal offenses and other disqualifying incidents in ones background, it is quite understandable how someone could innocently and naively answer this question wrong. I have heard from people that it has happened to. Naturally, if you haven't been accused, committed or been found guilty of a crime related to Domestic Violence, an applicants natural instinct is to answer NO. However, I have been made aware of instances where even the (victim) of Domestic Violence was advised that this was considered incorrect to answer NO and would be "providing false information". And, if those in power wanted to, could be used as evidence against them. Technically that is accurate. As even a victim who files for and receives a Temporary Restraining Order or Final Restraining Order is in fact then "subject to any Court Order pursuant to Domestic Violence". Its also true that a space is offered on the form to explain in more detail beyond just checking the box. But few if any reasonable people, as the victims of Domestic Violence, filling out the application for themselves, would rationally consider answering that question in the affirmative. The usually safe assumption , given the subject matter and previous questions is that the question refers to someone being the (accused). Question #21 asks: Do you suffer from a physical defect or disease ? And the follow up #22, elaborates . " If answer to question #21 is yes, does this make it unsafe to handle firearms ? If not, explain. How this question manages to survive its potential use for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act is a mystery. And there have in fact been cases where an applicant was denied as a result of some illness or handicapped status and then had to go to the incredible and costly lengths of suing the State to have the rejection overturned. Not to mention the vagueness of the question itself? What is type of suffering and to what level? What qualifies as a physical defect? Question #26 wants to know: "Have you ever been tended, treated or observed by any Doctor or psychiatrist, or at any hospital or mental institution, on in inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition? "
Clearly this question can be the undoing of any number of people for completely innocent reasons, and expose them to the possibility of being charged with a crime.
Authors Note: Although the copy of the FID Card app attached to this article is for a NJ Resident FID Card, and Mr Kaleda has been charged with "falsifying information" on the NON Resident version of the application, there is little if any difference between the two applications and any that may exist are so minor as to be irrelevant for the purposes of this column.Dan Roberts or email him at DRoberts@ammoland.com You can also find him on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dan.roberts.18