Brian Aitken, a New Jersey Gun-Law Victim, Speaks

by
posted on April 22, 2018
jersey-gun.jpg (1)

The takeaway from a months-long struggle to get out of jail and clear his name is simple, Brian Aitken says: “If this happens to you, you have an obligation—to yourself and the people that have come before you and the people that are going to come after you—to stand up for your rights,’” he told NJ.com recently.

Aitken, NRA members and Second Amendment advocates might remember, had been living with his parents in New Jersey temporarily because he wanted to be closer to his son during a divorce. While he was in the process of moving to an apartment one day, with some belongings packed in his car, his mother called the police and told them she was concerned about his well-being. They contacted Aitken and asked him to come to her home so his mother could rest easier.

He drove back to his mother’s house. At some point after he returned, the police conducted a routine search and  discovered his unloaded, locked firearms—packed in preparation for the move—in the trunk. The police arrested him under New Jersey’s strict gun laws.


That was in early 2009. The legal process played out, and eventually Aitken was sentenced to seven years. He served a few months before then-Gov. Chris Christie commuted his sentence. Although he only spent a few months in prison, he still had to live with the “felon” label—until earlier this year, when Christie pardoned him.

Recently, around the same time that gun-rights advocates were protesting in state capitals across the nation, a New Jersey range had a celebration of Aitken’s freedom. It was there that Aitken summed up his feelings about standing up for your rights.

The event drew people who had voiced concerns about Aitken’s situation, and the timing of the celebration came just days before another law, this one banning magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, went into effect.

Laws like that one have law-abiding gun owners riled, and the rationale is simple. The New Jersey justice system makes it “harder on law-abiding people who make wrong turns than they are on hardened criminals,” Greg Ziolkowski, 55, of Metuchen, told NJ.com.

The struggle for Aitken to clear his name has been real. “It took me several years to reconcile everything that happened. It became very difficult to relate to people. A lot of that innocence you have at that age was gone for me,” he said. But it will all be worth it if his children and others see him as a person who stood up for his rights rather than just taking what the state handed him.

“The message in the past has been, ‘Look at Brian and look how New Jersey made him a victim,’” Aitken said. "What I think the message really needs to be is, ‘Look at how Brian didn't take a plea deal. Look at how he didn't back down.’”

Latest

Springfield Armory SA-35
Springfield Armory SA-35

Friends Of NRA Gun Of The Year: Springfield Armory SA-35

The 2023 Friends of NRA Gun of the Year is a Springfield Armory SA-35 with a unique NRA stock design.

Biden Keeps Pushing To Ban Semi-Automatics

Biden seems determined to try to ban not just so-called “assault weapons,” but also now seems to be going after all semi-automatic firearms, by implying anyone who owns them must be, in his mind, “sick.”

Hollywood Gets It Wrong, Again

Reality tells a different story than Hollywood on Armed Citizens.

The Politically Incorrect Truth About America's Rifle

For the truth on America's rifle, America's 1st Freedom spoke to the man who wrote the book on it.

A Look At Some Of What To Expect In 2023

This year, we will push to expand constitutional carry, right-to-carry laws and fight the gun control groups' continued attempts to use the financial sector to effectively get the restrictions they can't get through legislatures. And this is just the beginning of what we will do!

Gun-Control Groups Present a Demand List to Biden

A long list of gun-control groups recently signed a letter telling President Biden that his gun-control actions are not enough. In his upcoming State of the Union Address, they want him to agree to much more.

Interests



Get the best of America's 1st Freedom delivered to your inbox.