Two measures in the N.J. Assembly would help eliminate excessive penalties for out-of-state visitors who unknowingly run afoul of New Jersey’s onerous anti-gun policies.
While the state Attorney General’s office already gives prosecutors the authority not to seek mandatory minimum sentences against non-residents accused of breaking New Jersey’s firearm possession laws, one measure would codify these guidelines in state law—helping those charged with minor firearms possession cases avoid jail time. The second measure would do away with the three-and-a-half-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegally carrying a gun altogether. Both measures will be outlined Tuesday.
Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says the measures stem from recent cases in which otherwise law-abiding out-of-state visitors have been faced with lengthy jail sentences—including Carlo Bellario, charged with second-degree possession for carrying a pellet gun while starring in an independent movie; and Brian Fletcher, who, while making repairs after a storm, was arrested after notifying officers of his legally-owned firearm.
Lawyer Trying To Sue Gunmakers For Crime Calls Public “Notoriously Incompetent”
In attempting to go around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in his play to sue the firearms industry for the crimes committed by the 2012 Sandy Hook mass murderer, an attorney representing the victims claimed that the public is “notoriously incompetent” and “not capable of handling [property] properly.”
Attorney Joshua D. Koskoff argues that marketing a firearm in terms of what it can do—shoot bullets, for example, for self-defense—violates Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act and somehow constitutes an act of “negligent entrustment.” Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis said she will decide within 60 days whether the suit can proceed.
If the suit goes forward, it could set a new high-water mark for lawyers’ duplicity and contempt for the law. It could also open the floodgates to the kind of litigation that threatened to drive the entire U.S. firearms industry out of business just 15 years ago.
Flint Editor Wants To Ban Gun Sales “Until We Get This Right”
With a headline worthy of The Onion, the editor of The Flint Journal editorialized Monday that it’s “Time to ban gun sales until we find a way to keep them out of the wrong hands."
Asking, “Where was the good guy with a gun when … ?”, editor Bryn Mickle blamed armed citizens for criminal murder. Concluding that “There are more bad guys doing wrong than there are civilian good guys with guns,” he proposed an “immediate ban on handgun sales until America gets its gun problem sorted out.”
So, because there are not enough armed citizens, Mickle says handgun sales should be halted “or eventually there won’t be anyone left to ignore the problem.” Mickle wrote in January, “Making the water safe is a must, but it won’t matter if no one is left to drink it.” However, his hysteria over Armed-ageddon should be eased by FBI stats that show gun homicides continued a two-decade decline in 2015.
Pennsylvania Corrections Officer Sees Gun Charge Dropped
Also out of New Jersey, Sgt. Ray Hughes of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections will no longer face a felony charge for unlawful possession of a firearm. Hughes was out with his wife in Atlantic City, N.J., when their car was struck by a drunk driver. Police who arrived on the scene confiscated the handgun that Hughes says he accidentally left in his car, and later on he was told that he would be prosecuted for a crime. (See Ginny Simone’s exclusive interview with Hughes and his wife here.)
According to the Associated Press, the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office dropped the charge because the firearm was only discovered after the corrections officer had become the victim of a crime. The nightmare that Hughes faced fortunately appears to be over, but the fact that a law enforcement officer ended up in this situation shows how critically New Jersey’s gun laws need to reformed.
Iowa House Passes Suppressor Legalization Bill
Five gun-related bills easily passed through the Iowa House of representatives Tuesday, including one to legalize suppressors, or “silencers,” in the state. The proposed measure would repeal Iowa’s current restrictions on National Firearms Act-compliant sound muffling devices. As the law stands today, Iowa residents are prohibited from owning a suppressor—currently legal in more than three-fourths of the other states—and possession of a suppressor is a Class D felony punishable by as much as $7,500 in fines and up to five years in prison.
Garnering the support of Republicans and some Democrats, four other pro-gun bills were passed with ease as part of the Iowa Firearms Coalition-sponsored Second Amendment Day.
Legislation that streamlines the process for getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon got the support of all but one member of the House, along with a measure mandating that concealed-carry application forms be kept confidential so personal information like addresses and phone numbers cannot be disclosed.
Minnesota Resident Stops Armed Robber With Gun
The holder of a concealed-carry permit in Brooklyn Park, Minn., proved a poor target for an armed would-be robber. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the suspect and intended victim exchanged gunfire; the suspect was fatally wounded, while there was no report of the armed citizen having been injured.
Police confirmed being familiar with the deceased suspect “from previous contact,” without explaining in detail. State Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, responded to the incident: “A loss of life is a tragedy. But when a criminal pulls a gun, they risk ending their life. Concealed carry works.”