How strict are New Jersey gun laws?
A Philadelphia woman was driving down the shore to celebrate her young son’s birthday when she was stopped by a New Jersey state trooper in Hamilton Township for a lane change. She told the officer that she had a gun loaded with hollow-point bullets in her purse. She had purchased and legally registered the gun in Pennsylvania because she worked odd hours and had been robbed twice. Still, she was arrested and charged with illegally bringing a concealed weapon into New Jersey; she faced up to five years in prison.
New Jersey gun laws are among the strictest in the nation. Even if this woman’s gun had been registered in New Jersey, it is required to be transported unloaded and locked in the vehicle’s trunk. But, the gun was not registered in New Jersey, and at first, prosecutors wanted to make an example out of this case to deter others from bringing guns registered elsewhere into the state.
Eventually, the woman was allowed to enter a pretrial intervention program that required her to give up her gun and complete 25 hours of community service rather than go to jail. Instead, Governor Christie pardoned the woman from all criminal charges, which will expunge her record and allow her to be a gun owner again.
The governor’s pardon was a welcome end to this woman’s ordeal. She had spent 40 days in Atlantic County jail before posting bail on her charges. Her case had the attention of gun rights advocates and organizations. Governor Christie has made clear that he will use executive tools such as pardons since the legislature is not changing the state’s gun laws.
If you or a loved one is facing weapons charges, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Sitzler & Sitzler can help. We represent clients throughout Southern New Jersey in a wide variety of misdemeanor (disorderly person charge) and felony (indictable charge) cases. Contact our Hainesport, New Jersey office today at (609)267-1101.