It hasn’t been a good week for Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, would-be contender for President of the United States, and staunch gun control advocate.
As we report elsewhere, O’Malley was finally forced to drop out of the Democratic primary on Tuesday after failing to garner even a single delegate at the Iowa Caucus.
Then, on Thursday, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion that may spell doom for O’Malley’s signature legislative “achievement” as governor, the so-called Firearm Safety Act of 2013 (FSA). This act ushered in a long list of onerous gun control measures, but its centerpiece is a broad ban on popular semiautomatic rifles, as well as magazines with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds.
During the presidential campaign, O’Malley often touted enactment of the FSA as an example of his “leadership.” That’s what O’Malley calls jamming a divisive, partisan, and ineffectual law down the throats of his constituents, one that may now collapse under the weight of its own unconstitutionality. No wonder the caucus voters stayed away from him in droves.
On the other hand, the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in the case, Kolbe v. Hogan, is positive news for Second Amendment advocates. While the appellate court did not directly invalidate the challenged “assault weapon” and magazine bans, it faulted the lower court for its dismissive “intermediate scrutiny” analysis and returned the case for reconsideration under “strict scrutiny,” the most demanding test in constitutional law. Dissenting Judge Robert B. King, a Bill Clinton appointee, explains the significance of this decision by lamenting, “I fear … the panel majority has guaranteed the demise of the FSA ….”
Only time will tell if that’s true. For now, however, the majority decision contains a number of very significant findings of fact and conclusions of law that strongly reinforce the protections of the Second Amendment in the Fourth Circuit. It also creates the potential for a circuit split with other judicial circuits that have upheld semi-auto bans and/or magazine capacity limits. This could increase the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue of semi-auto and magazine bans and determine a rule applicable to the entire country.
In contrast to the majority’s rational and sober opinion on the Second Amendment claim, Judge King’s dissent features the sort of hyperbole and emotionalism typically associated with the gun control movement, in addition to patent errors of fact and law. “Let’s be real,” he scolds, “The assault weapons banned by Maryland’s FSA are exceptionally lethal weapons of war.” He also earns an unusual rebuke from the majority for his thinly-disguised suggestion that they could end up with blood on their hands by setting the stage for further mass shootings. “[I]nferences of this nature have no place in judicial opinions,” the majority retorts, “and we will not respond beyond noting this.” Echoing a scene from the Tom Cruise film “A Few Good Men,” Judge King signs off by dramatically noting, “I wholeheartedly dissent.”
While the saga of the FSA is far from over and the law’s ultimate fate still undetermined, the panel’s decision is a significant step forward for continued judicial recognition of the Second Amendment. It’s also a timely and poignant reminder of the need to elect a president who will both respect the right to keep and bear arms and appoint judges who will resolve cases based on the dictates of the Constitution and not on their own emotional reactions to hot-button issues they don’t understand.
No charges against NJ troopers who shot man defending his own house
By Associated Press February 10, 2017 5:14 PM
TRENTON — The state attorney general has concluded a state trooper used justifiable force when he shot a 76-year-old man inside a home mistakenly linked to a 911 call. Gerald Sykes thought he was defending his Upper Deerfield home from intruders late on July 29. In reality, he was confronting two troopers who went to the home when a disconnected 911 call was mistakenly traced to Sykes’ address. The troopers told authorities they saw Sykes holding a revolver and shotgun when they went to his back door. They said he pointed the guns in their direction before one trooper fired four shots, striking him in the chest and upper groin. The second trooper suffered a graze wound when Sykes returned fire. The attorney general’s office report released Friday concluded the trooper felt he was in immediate danger.
Read the full report by the Attorney General’s Office:
In compliance with the Attorney General’s Directive on Police-Use-of-Force Investigations, this public statement is being issued on the findings of the investigation into a police-involved shooting in Upper Deerfield, N.J., in 2016 in which a state trooper shot and seriously wounded an armed homeowner after being dispatched to the man’s home to investigate a 911 call that erroneously was believed to have originated there. The man returned fire, slightly injuring a second trooper.
Under the Attorney General’s Directive on Police-Use-of-Force Investigations, the incident was investigated by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team, made up of investigators from the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit. As a result of the investigation, Director Elie Honig of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice determined that presentation of the police-involved shooting to a grand jury was not required under the directive, because the undisputed material facts showed that the use of force was justifiable under the law. The investigation included witness interviews and forensic analysis of the scene and other evidence.
The officer involved – “Trooper 1” – is a male trooper who was assigned to the New Jersey State Police Bridgeton Station. With regard to the specific factual circumstances of the incident, the investigation revealed that on July 29, 2016, at approximately 11:30 p.m., Trooper 1 and a second trooper – “Trooper 2” – were dispatched from the Bridgeton Station to a single-family residence on Centerton Road in Upper Deerfield Township, Cumberland County. They were sent there to investigate what was believed to be a 911 hang-up call placed from the home. For the reasons explained below, the troopers were sent to that location in error. Instead, the residents of the home, Gerald Sykes, 76, and his wife, were asleep in their first-floor bedroom when the troopers arrived in separate marked troop cars and pulled into the driveway. They left the cars running with headlights on, but did not activate their emergency lights. The home is set back about a quarter mile from the road and exterior lights were off, so the scene was dark except for the headlights. Both troopers wore uniforms consisting of black tactical pants with a gold stripe, a blue long-sleeved shirt with the State Police insignia on the shoulder, and a black tactical vest with reflective “State Police” markings across the chest and back. Trooper 2 also wore a State Police cap. Both wore utility belts holding their duty weapons, handcuffs, flashlights and ammunition.
Trooper 1 rang the doorbell and knocked on the front door. There was no response inside the home. Both troopers then walked to the back of the house. Trooper 2 walked onto a large back deck and was able to see into the couple’s bedroom through a sliding glass door. He saw Mrs. Sykes get out of bed and turn on a bedside light. The troopers heard a dog barking inside. Trooper 2, shouting through the glass, identified himself as a state trooper and said he was there to investigate a 911 hang-up. At this time, Trooper 1 was about 40 feet away checking a detached garage. Trooper 1 subsequently joined Trooper 2 on the deck as they tried to talk to Mrs. Sykes through the door. Both troopers stated that they had their flashlights on, and Trooper 1 recalled shining his flashlight on Trooper 2’s uniform to show Mrs. Sykes that they were in fact state troopers. As they were attempting to talk to Mrs. Sykes, Mr. Sykes got out of the bed and walked straight out of the bedroom into an interior hallway. The hallway appeared to lead to the living room, so the troopers moved to a second sliding glass door that led from the deck to the living room. The troopers said that the next time they saw Mr. Sykes, he was holding a long gun up to his shoulder. Trooper 1 said he also saw a revolver in Sykes’ hand, pressed against the side of the long gun. Both troopers reported that Mr. Sykes was a few feet away from them on the other side of the glass door, and he was pointing the long gun at Trooper 2’s chest. Mrs. Sykes said she believed her husband had the gun pointed down.
The troopers said they immediately drew their handguns, pointed them at Mr. Sykes, and began screaming “State Police” and “drop the gun.” They said Mr. Sykes then focused his attention on Trooper 1 and quickly pointed the long gun and revolver in his direction. At that point, Trooper 1 fired four rounds from his 9mm service handgun at Mr. Sykes. He saw that Mr. Sykes was hit and saw him go down to the ground. The troopers then retreated off the deck. Trooper 2 called “shots fired” over his radio and stopped at the bottom of the deck stairs, while Trooper 1 retreated farther toward the garage. The “shots fired” transmission occurred at 11:45 p.m. Trooper 2 was standing at the bottom of the deck stairs and was turning to see what Mr. Sykes was doing when he heard a gunshot and immediately felt pain in his left elbow as Mr. Sykes discharged his shotgun through the glass door. Trooper 2 transmitted “I’m hit” over his radio. The troopers then ran around opposite sides of the house and got into Trooper 2’s car. Trooper 1 made a turn in the driveway and drove to the road for the troopers to wait for back-up. Once on the road, they assessed Trooper 2’s injuries and determined that he was only grazed in the elbow and not seriously hurt. Also, there was a mark on the left shoulder of Trooper 2’s tactical vest which may have been a pellet strike.
Shortly after the shooting, 911 calls came in from Mr. Sykes and Mrs. Sykes’ daughter, who lived in the area. Mrs. Sykes could not make her phone work when trying to dial 911, so she called her daughter and told her that Mr. Sykes had been shot. Simultaneously, Mr. Sykes called 911 and told the operator that he had been shot by two “prowlers” and had returned fire. He told the 911 operator that he was shot twice in the chest and once in the hip. Mr. Sykes made his 911 call at 11:52 p.m. A dispatcher at the Cumberland County 911 center pieced together what Mr. Sykes was telling him with what he was hearing on State Police radios and transferred Mr. Sykes’ call to State Police dispatchers. The 911 operators at State Police then spoke to Mr. Sykes, had Mrs. Sykes place Mr. Sykes’ shotgun on the front porch, and had Mr. Sykes come out of the house onto the front lawn. The back-up troopers moved in once Mr. Sykes told the 911 operators he was outside and unarmed. The troopers temporarily handcuffed Mr. Sykes, but un-cuffed him once EMS arrived and started treating his wounds. Mr. Sykes was then airlifted to Cooper University Hospital, where he underwent surgery. Throughout his conversations with the 911 operators, Mr. Sykes repeatedly stated that he had been shot by intruders.
Members of the shooting response team interviewed Mrs. Sykes later that evening. Mrs. Sykes said she did not hear the doorbell or any knocking on the front door. She said she woke up to the sound of her dog barking at someone on the back deck. She roused Mr. Sykes, whom she described as groggy from being woken up. She said that his first reaction was to grab his shotgun from a closet. She did not notice Mr. Sykes retrieving the revolver, but saw later that the nightstand drawer, where the revolver was kept, was open. When she got up to look out of the sliding glass door, she saw two men with flashlights on the back deck. She stated that the men said they were police officers and asked if the Sykeses called 911. Mrs. Sykes said that she had trouble hearing the men clearly. She also stated that the men did not look like police officers to her. Knowing that both she and her husband were asleep and did not call 911, Mrs. Sykes did not believe that the men were police officers. Mrs. Sykes said that after Mr. Sykes went into the living room with his shotgun, she heard the men shouting that they were the police and repeated commands of “get down.” Mrs. Sykes was standing behind Mr. Sykes, but was farther back toward the bedroom. She said she heard several rapid gunshots and Mr. Sykes said he was hit. Mr. Sykes then returned fire once with the shotgun. When questioned how Mr. Sykes was holding the shotgun during the encounter, she said she thought he had it pointed down, not at the troopers. The scene was examined by forensic experts. Mr. Sykes’ shotgun was found on the front porch where Mrs. Sykes placed it at the direction of 911 operators. Mr. Sykes’ loaded revolver, which was not fired, was found on the living room floor. There were four small holes and one large hole in the sliding glass door and a window directly next to it.
An investigation into the original 911 call, conducted with assistance from the New Jersey Office of Emergency Telecommunications, revealed there was no 911 hang-up. A 911 caller had reached the Cumberland County 911 center, and a dispatcher there tried to transfer him to State Police dispatchers. Before successfully transferring the call, however, the county dispatcher hit a wrong button and initiated a transfer to the Vineland 911 center. The county dispatcher quickly canceled the transfer, but the dispatch terminal in Vineland registered a 911 call lasting just two seconds. A Vineland dispatcher interpreted this as a 911 hang-up. The Sykeses’ address was identified as the source of the call at the Vineland 911 center because there is a cell tower on the Sykeses’ property. The Vineland 911 system ordinarily handles calls only from landlines in Vineland, not cell calls. Cell calls are handled by the county 911 center, which has special procedures in place to properly locate cell callers. The Vineland dispatcher called the State Police Bridgeton Station and reported a 911 hang-up from the Sykeses’ address.
This matter was reviewed by Director Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice and all portions of the Attorney General’s Directive on Police-Use-of-Force Investigations were complied with. After analyzing the findings of the investigation, Director Honig concluded that the undisputed facts indicate that Trooper 1’s conduct in firing on Sykes was justifiable under the law. The facts and circumstances reasonably led Trooper 1 to believe that his actions were immediately necessary to protect himself and Trooper 2. While there is a dispute about whether Mr. Sykes pointed the shotgun at the troopers before Trooper 1 fired, there is no dispute that Mr. Sykes was armed, did not comply with troopers’ commands, and approached to within a few feet of the troopers with his shotgun and revolver. An officer may use deadly force in New Jersey when the officer reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.
It is with a heavy heart that I post this obituary of one of our members:
Andrew J. Barsony
AGE: 74 • Woodbridge
Andrew Barsony, 74, of Woodbridge passed away on Friday, September 30, 2016 at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison.
Born in Hungary, Andrew came to America in 1951 and settled in Woodbridge. Andrew was a loving husband, father and grandfather and will be deeply missed. He was employed as a microfilm operator for the Middlesex County Court System until retiring. "Handy Andy" had many friends in town all of whom appreciated his skills and generosity.
Andrew was predeceased by his wife, Carol Barsony. Surviving are his children; Eva Barsony - Reiner and her husband Jeff and Robert Barsony and his wife Tina. Also surviving are three grandchildren; Nathanial, Amber and Matthew.
Funeral services will begin at 8:30am on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 from GERITY & CHUBENKO FUNERAL HOME, 411 Amboy Avenue, Woodbridge followed by a 9am mass of resurrection at St. James R.C. Church in Woodbridge. Interment will follow at St. James Cemetery in Woodbridge.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 from 6pm to 9pm at the funeral home.
To send online condolences, please visit www.gerityfh.com
New AG Directive Addresses Permitting Delays &
Illegal Conditions - Facilitates ANJRPC's
Permitting StrikeForce to End Permitting Abuse
Second AG Directive Addresses "Reasonably Necessary Deviations" in Firearms Transportation - Acknowledges the Most Common Deviations & Provides General Guidance
AG Also Promulgates Official Regulations for Incremental Improvement in "Justifiable Need" for Right to Carry
The New Jersey Attorney General has followed through on the recommendations of Governor Chris Christie's 2015 firearms study commission formed pursuant to Executive Order 180, taking the following actions:
1. Issued an Attorney General Directive regarding the outrageous delays and illegal conditions imposed by bureaucrats in the issuance of firearms permits, directing every permitting authority in New Jersey to follow state law mandates, and requiring them to regularly track and report their compliance to the State, and to respond to update inquiries by individual applicants. The Directive also calls for further study of how the permitting process can be streamlined in the future. The Directive will greatly facilitate the mission of ANJRPC's Permitting StrikeForce to end permitting abuse throughout the state.
2. Issued an Attorney General Directive reducing uncertainty in the meaning of "reasonably necessary deviations" in the transportation of firearms by law-abiding citizens, providing general guidance on the subject as well as specific examples of the most common deviations deemed "reasonably necessary," such as pickup and discharge of passengers, purchasing food, beverages, fuel, medicine, and other necessary supplies, using a restroom, and contending with an emergency situation.
3. Recently promulgated state police regulations to effect the incremental improvement in the "justifiable need" standard needed to qualify for a carry permit that was recommended by the Governor's commission.
"We welcome these historic executive actions to make progress on basic issues that have plagued New Jersey's one million law-abiding gun owners for decades," said ANJRPC Executive Director Scott Bach. "Honest citizens who choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights should not have to wait months or years for permits, and should not have to live in fear of imprisonment for stopping while travelling to the range."
"As for New Jersey's blatantly unconstitutional interference with self-defense through an impossible-to-satisfy carry permit standard," Bach continued, "gun owners will eventually overturn that abomination, but in the meanwhile we welcome the modest incremental improvement represented by the new rules being promulgated."
Based on the separation of powers doctrine, executive actions are limited by the New Jersey Constitution, and cannot change laws passed by the legislature or ruled on by the courts. But they can clarify unclear areas of the law not addressed by the courts or the legislature, and take actions limited to the executive branch of government that do not exceed constitutional authority or infringe on the other branches of government. Executive actions that exceed their authority and infringe on the other branches of government are unconstitutional and cannot survive a challenge.
Read Governor Christie's press release about these historic executive actions here.
While a detailed review of these executive actions is currently under way, following is our preliminary analysis:
ENDING PERMITTING ABUSESGarden State gun owners have suffered longstanding, widespread abuses in the issuance of firearms permits, including outrageous delays beyond the legally mandated 30-day deadline, and the imposition of unlawful conditions on the issuance of permits, like requiring employer consent, spousal notification, and dozens of other unauthorized requirements.
ANJRPC's Permitting StrikeForce was formed in 2014 to systematically address these issues town-by-town among New Jersey's 565 municipalities and police barracks that issue permits. Significant progress has been made, and we are currently engaged in discussions with approximately 200 towns, but the new Attorney General Directive on permitting will greatly facilitate the process.
The Attorney General directive requires permitting authorities to follow the mandates of state law, to regularly track and report their compliance to the State, and to respond to update inquiries by individual applicants. The Directive also calls for further study of how the permitting process can be streamlined in the future.
"We expect the new Attorney General Directive on permitting to turbocharge ANJRPC's Permitting StrikeForce initiative," said attorney Daniel Schmutter, Esq., leader of the project. "There is no excuse for any failure to comply with the clear requirements of state law, and the new AG Directive enables us to become much more aggressive with non-compliant towns."
CLARIFYING "REASONABLE DEVIATIONS"
IN FIREARMS TRANSPORTATIONState statute generally requires that transportation of certain firearms be "direct" between authorized points in order for possession to be legal, except for "reasonably necessary deviations" - a term not defined by state law.
For decades, honest gun owners have faced the threat of prosecution for unlawful handgun possession (a crime carrying up to ten years in prison) if a stop between authorized points was not deemed a "reasonably necessary deviation" in transportation. Many law-abiding citizens have been turned into criminals by this absurd law, and there is a patchwork of conflicting interpretations from town to town regarding what is considered "reasonable."
The new Attorney General directive provides statewide guidance on the issue, and identifies specific examples of the most common deviations that should be deemed "reasonably necessary," including pickup and discharge of passengers, purchasing food, beverages, fuel, medicine, and other needed supplies, using a restroom, and contending with an emergency situation. The general guidelines specify that the more limited in duration and distance that transportation deviations are, the more likely they are to be found reasonable.
Again, the executive branch does not have the power to ignore or rewrite state law on transportation of firearms (it can only interpret existing law, in a manner consistent with statutory language and court decisions). While New Jersey still has a very long way to go in recognizing the right to transport firearms under the Second Amendment, the new directive adds more clarity and certainty to an area that has placed gun owners in legal jeopardy for decades, and represents an incremental improvement.
AN INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENT IN "JUSTIFIABLE NEED"
FOR HANDGUN CARRY PERMITSThe right to defend yourself with a firearm outside the home, otherwise known as right to carry, has long been disparaged by the Garden State, and it is nearly impossible for gun owners to qualify for a carry permit due to the state's absurdly restrictive and impossible-to-meet "justifiable need" standard, which currently requires proof of actual threats or prior attacks, among other things. ANJRPC challenged that standard in a significant lawsuit several years ago, but unfortunately the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. With the recent passing of conservative pro-gun Justice Antonin Scalia, the outcome of other pending carry law challenges heading toward the U.S. Supreme from other states is uncertain.
As noted above, executive powers are limited by the New Jersey Constitution, and the executive branch cannot simply rewrite laws passed by the legislature or ruled on by the courts, based on the separation of powers doctrine. The executive branch is constrained by state law and court opinions interpreting justifiable need and does not have the authority to simply ignore the other branches of government and rewrite the standard, much to gun owners' disappointment. However, incremental improvement of the standard is possible and enforceable if it does not conflict with the existing statute interpretation.
The recent State Police rules promulgation implementing the recommendation of the Governor's commission on justifiable need is the first step in a technical, lengthy process. Following the promulgation, there is a period for public comment, an opportunity for amendment of the proposed rules, and eventual finalization of the rule.
According to gun rights guru and ANJRPC legal affairs chair Evan Nappen, Esq., "The Governor's recommendation would incrementally improve justifiable need by allowing the demonstration of urgent necessity to be met by 'serious threats', as opposed to just 'specific threats and previous attacks.' It further adds a standard of reasonableness to the requirement that the threat cannot be avoided by means other than carrying a handgun. It opens the door to many qualified individuals getting a carry permit who otherwise would be denied." For an in-depth discussion of justifiable need and how the Governor's recommendation would make an incremental improvement, listen to this extensive interview with ANJRPC attorney Daniel Schmutter, Esq.
ANJRPC President and national pistol champion Kathy Chatterton commented, "New Jersey's current unacceptable 'justifiable need' standard has an especially harsh impact on women. Women frequently become the targets of stalkers and vengeful ex-husbands or boyfriends. New Jersey must join the 43 other states that recognize concealed carry as important to a woman's right to protect herself when facing this kind of danger. Self-protection outside the home is everyone's right - including women!"
While ANJRPC is committed to fully restoring the right to carry and ending the Garden State's medieval mistreatment of gun owners, even a modest incremental improvement in a standard destined to be overturned is welcome in the meanwhile.
It is with a very heavy heart that I announce the passing of our Vice President and Chief Instructor John Fox. Please turn out for at least the viewing and let John's family know how much he meant to us.
John H. Fox Officer and instructor at rifle and pistol club, of Colonia, 'a very giving man' John H. Fox passed away on Monday, March 28, 2016, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rahway, N.J. Visitation is on Thursday, March 31, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Gosselin Funeral Home, 660 New Dover Rd., Edison, N.J. Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 1, at the funeral home, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, N.J. John was born in Jersey City, N.J., and resided in Iselin, N.J., before moving to Colonia, N.J., in 1974. He worked for Transamerica in White Plains, N.J. Prior to that, he worked for United Artists in New York and First Jersey National Bank. He was a member, vice president, and instructor of the Lake Island Rifle and Pistol Club of Carteret, N.J. He was also past president (1972 to 1973) of the Iselin Athletic Association. John was predeceased by his son, William Fox (2009); his daughter, Jacqui Carey (2014), and his parents, Hubert and Blanche Fox. Surviving are his wife of 57 years, Margaret Fox, to whom he was a devoted care giver up until his death. He was very supportive and involved in his children's lives, John F. Fox and his wife, Pat, and Lori Romanowski and her husband, Curtis. He was a proud grandfather of Meghan and her husband, Matthew, John, Christopher, and Nicole, and father-in-law of Steven Carey. John was a very giving man and found no bigger joy in life then spending time with his family.
Fourth Circuit Requires “Strict Scrutiny” for Maryland Gun and Magazine Ban
Friday, February 5, 2016
It hasn’t been a good week for Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, would-be contender for President of the United States, and staunch gun control advocate.
Don't forget--the combination on the door lock will change around 2pm on February 1st. If you haven't paid your dues by this date, you will not be able to get into the club!
New Jersey Actor Faces Jail Time over Possession of Air Pistol during Movie Shoot
If it seems as though that every couple of months there is another high-profile gun control injustice in New Jersey, that’s because there is. The latest incident occurred in Woodbridge, N.J. when a local actor unwittingly violated the Garden State’s onerous gun laws.
According to an account provided by New York City’s WPIX, actor and stand-up comedian Carlo Bellario accepted the role of a gangster in a low budget film titled, Vendetta Games. While shooting a portion of the movie in November, the filmmaker provided Bellario with an air pistol to simulate a real firearm for the scene.
Describing what happened to WPIX, Bellario said, “Our scene was a simulated car chase scene. We just drove around the neighborhood. I’m pretending I’m shooting with the recoil, with a pellet gun. I guess people in the neighborhood saw that. They call the police. We get back and we’re surrounded by cop cars!”
Under New Jersey’s gun laws, air pistols are treated as actual firearms. Section 2C:39-5 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice states:
(1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the second degree. (2) If the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person it is a crime of the third degree
This means that in order to possess an air pistol in public one must obtain a rather difficult to acquire permit to carry. Neither the filmmaker nor Bellario had a permit.
According to the article, despite explaining to police officers that he was filming a scene, Bellario was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Bellario was forced to spend 4 days in Middlesex County jail before his girlfriend acquired $10,000 for bail with the help of a bondsman. With the impending legal expenses, Bellario has established a gofundme account to help pay for his defense. Unlawful possession of an air pistol is a third degree felony punishable by 3-5 years in prison.
Felony charges for the unpermitted possession of an air pistol during filming is another unconscionable result of New Jersey gun laws that are wildly out-of-step with the most of the nation. In recent years, a litany of well-meaning gun owners have been victimized by New Jersey law. In several cases mistaken residents of other states have brought a firearm to New Jersey unaware of the state’s stringent possession and carry laws.
Thankfully, these unintentional lawbreakers have made their mistakes during a gubernatorial administration that is willing to exercise some common sense. In 2010, Governor Chris Christie famously commuted the sentence of Brian Aitken, a gun owner who brought a lawfully owned gun from Colorado to New Jersey. Christie went on to pardon Philadelphia nurse and mother Shaneen Allen, who mistakenly believed her Pennsylvania carry permit was valid in the Garden State. Moreover, last September Christie pardoned three others who unknowingly violated New Jersey’s gun laws.
While the actions of the Christie administration in helping these gun owners should be applauded, the fact that these outlandish prosecutions continue to occur reveals a deeper problem that must be changed legislatively. NRA will continue to work with New Jersey’s gun owners to try to alleviate the most burdensome and nonsensical portions of the state’s gun laws. Hopefully in the future those like Bellario, and otherwise law-abiding gun owners like Aitken and Allen, will not have to rely on the decency and common sense of the executive branch to stay out of prison.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Vetoes Misguided “Smart Gun” Legislation
Today, Governor Christie pocket-vetoed Senate Bill 3249 /A. 4717, sponsored by state Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and state Senator Richard Codey (D-27). S. 3249 /A.4717 sought to repeal the ban on traditional handguns from New Jersey’s 2002 “smart gun” law by requiring licensed dealers to stock so called “Smart Guns” in their inventory. NRA testified against the bill at a Statehouse hearing in Trenton a couple of weeks ago because it replaces one bad mandate with another. NRA also asked lawmakers to repeal New Jersey's current “smart gun” law and amend the bill to remove the provision forcing gun dealers to offer these technologically unviable guns for sale. This misguided mandate would be similar to the government forcing your local auto dealer to offer new self-driving car technology for sale regardless of consumer demand or viability.
This effort to force the adoption and use of “smart guns” by mandating that firearms dealers stock them in inventory suggests that politicians will once again pursue a ban on traditional firearms in the future.
Here is a site you might find helpful: http://gunbuyersalmanac.org/ It gives a short rundown of laws governing buying and selling firearms. I have also included it on our links list.
The Following Is The Text of a Grassroots Alert
Issued By NRA-ILA Over The Weekend:
On Thursday, January 7, the Assembly Appropriations Committee passed Senate Bill 3249 with a partisan 6-3 vote.
As previously reported, S. 3249 /A. 4717, sponsored by state Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and state Senator Richard Codey (D-27), would repeal the ban on traditional handguns from New Jersey's 2002 "smart gun" law. NRA testified against the bill because it replaces one bad mandate with another. NRA also asked lawmakers to repeal New Jersey's current "smart gun" law and amend the bill to remove the provision forcing gun dealers to offer these technologically unviable guns for sale. This misguided mandate would be similar to the government forcing your local auto dealer to offer new self-driving car technology for sale regardless of consumer demand or viability.
This effort to force the adoption and use of "smart guns" by mandating that firearms dealers stock them in inventory suggests that politicians will once again pursue a ban on traditional firearms in the future.
Permitting Delays and Illegal Conditions - Addressed!
"Reasonable Deviations" in Transportation - Addressed!
"Justifiable Need" for Right to Carry - Improved!
ANJRPC Explicitly Acknowledged in Commission Report
Please Call or Email to Thank Governor Christie
This afternoon, Governor Chris Christie's study commission on New Jersey firearms permitting issued a series of recommended executive actions addressing several egregious issues that have plagued law-abiding gun owners for decades - and Governor Christie has already accepted the recommendations!
The proposed executive actions address three general areas: (1) ending the outrageous delays and illegal conditions imposed by bureaucrats in the issuance of firearms permits, (2) clarifying the meaning of "reasonably necessary deviations" in the transportation of firearms by law-abiding citizens, and (3) incrementally expanding and clarifying the meaning of "justifiable need" for the issuance of handgun carry permits. Executive actions cannot rewrite laws passed by the legislature or ruled on by the courts, but they can address problems within the executive branch of government, and they can clarify unclear areas of the law.
"We welcome Governor Christie's acceptance of these historic recommendations and thank the Governor for taking unprecedented action in support of Second Amendment rights," said ANJRPC Executive Director Scott Bach. "When fully implemented, these executive actions will make a real difference in the lives of law-abiding gun owners, without compromising the Governor's tough record going after violent criminals."
The Governor's press release announcing the development is available here. A fact sheet from the Governor is available here. And the Commission report itself is available here.
While a detailed review of the findings of the Governor's commission is currently under way, following is our preliminary analysis:
ENDING PERMITTING ABUSES
Garden State gun owners have suffered longstanding, widespread abuses in the issuance of firearms permits, including outrageous delays beyond the legally mandated 30-day deadline, and the imposition of unlawful conditions on the issuance of permits, like requiring employer consent, spousal notification, and dozens of other unauthorized requirements.
ANJRPC's Permitting StrikeForce (led by attorney Dan Schmutter) was formed in 2014 to systematically address these issues town-by-town among New Jersey's 565 municipalities and police barracks that issue permits. Significant progress has been made, and we are currently engaged in discussions with approximately 180 towns, but the new recommendations will greatly accelerate the process.
The Commission calls for action by the Attorney General to clarify and enforce existing law regarding firearms permitting throughout all of New Jersey's permitting authorities.
Page 6 of the commission report mentions ANJRPC by name, stating "the commission has been provided with scores of contemporaneous complaints from permit applicants submitted to the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, describing delays, many of them lengthy delays, in the processing of their permits in approximately 100 different jurisdictions."
CLARIFYING "REASONABLE DEVIATIONS"
IN FIREARMS TRANSPORTATION
State law generally requires that transportation of certain firearms be "direct" between authorized points in order for possession to be legal, except for "reasonably necessary deviations" - a term not defined by state law.
For decades, honest gun owners have faced the threat of prosecution for unlawful handgun possession (a crime carrying up to ten years in prison) if a stop between authorized points was not deemed a reasonable deviation in transportation. Many law-abiding citizens have been turned into criminals by this absurd law, and there is a patchwork of conflicting interpretations from town to town regarding what is considered "reasonable."
The Commission calls for the Attorney General to clarify and provide uniform statewide guidance as to the most common stops made by law-abiding citizens that are to be deemed "reasonably necessary deviations" in transportation.
AN INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENT IN "JUSTIFIABLE NEED"
FOR HANDGUN CARRY PERMITS
The right to defend yourself with a firearm outside the home, otherwise known as right to carry, has long been disparaged by the Garden State, and it is nearly impossible for gun owners to qualify for a carry permit due to the state's absurdly restrictive "justifiable need" standard, which currently requires proof of actual threats or prior attacks, among other things. ANJRPC challenged that standard in a significant piece of litigation several years ago, but unfortunately the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
The executive branch of government is constrained by state law and court opinions interpreting justifiable need and cannot simply ignore the other branches of government and rewrite the standard. However, incremental improvement of the standard is possible and enforceable if it does not conflict with existing interpretation.
The Commission has recommended just such an incremental improvement. While the Commission report is still being analyzed, gun rights attorney and ANJRPC legal affairs Chairman Evan Nappen has reviewed the proposal, and offered the following preliminary thoughts:
"The Governor's action would improve justifiable need by allowing the demonstration of urgent necessity to be met by 'serious threats', as opposed to just 'specific threats and previous attacks.' It further adds a standard of reasonableness to the requirement that the threat cannot be avoided by means other than carrying a handgun. It opens the door to many qualified individuals getting a carry permit who otherwise would be denied."
Please watch for additional alerts and analysis of this major breaking development.
In the meanwhile, please contact Governor Christie, thank him for these unprecedented executive actions, and ask him to implement them to the fullest extent possible.
Contact the Governor by Email: Click here then select "Law and Public Safety" on the drop-down menu and click "submit." Then select "Miscellaneous Public Safety on the second drop-down menu, provide your contact information, and click "send your message."
Contact the Governor by Mail or Phone:
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
Don't ever forget this picture...
Australian Gun Law UpdateHere's a thought to warm some of your hearts....
From: Ed Chenel, A police officer in Australia
Hi Yanks, I thought you all would like to see the real
figures from Down Under. It has now been 12 months since gunowners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government,a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.
The first year results are now in:
Australia-wide, homicides are up 6.2 percent,
Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent;
Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!
In the state of Victoria.....alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent.(Note that
while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not
and criminals still possess their guns!)
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robberywith firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since thecriminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed. There has also been adramatic increase in break-ins andassaults of the elderly, while the resident is at home.
Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after suchmonumental effort and expense was expended in 'successfully ridding Australian society of guns....'You won't see this on the American evening news or hear your governor or members of theState Assembly disseminating this information. The Australian experience speaks for itself.Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control lawsaffect only thelaw-abiding citizens. Take note Americans, before it's too late!
Will you be one of the sheep to turn yours in?
WHY? You will need it.
FORWARD TO EVERYONE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST.
DON'T BE A MEMBER OF THE SILENT MAJORITY.
BE ONE OF THE VOCAL MINORITY WHO WON 'T STAND FOR NONSENSEAUSTRALIA: MORE VIOLENT CRIME DESPITE GUN BAN
I have been requested to post the ongoing talley of the ballot results for ANJRPC membership for Lake Island. Here are the results as of 3/20/15:
Ayes: 86 Nays:62
Remember, the ballot has to pass by 2/3 of the vote cast. So far, the nays are winning.
The regular memembership meeting on January 26th was postponed to February 2nd.
We are now implementing the long awaited new ventilation system. Unfortunately, we will be shutting down the range while work is being done. Keep an eye on the calendar for times that the range is unavailable.
6/16/13 - On a sad note, I have recieved the following obituary of longtime member Mike Hudak:
Michael Hudak(1966 - 2013)
AGE: 46 • Iselin
Michael P. Hudak, 46, of Iselin, passed away Saturday June 15, 2013 at the Mary Anne Hale Pavilion Haven Hospice, Edison.
Born in Perth Amboy, he resided in Iselin for 20 years.
He was a fleet mechanic for George Dapper Inc. in Iselin for 14 years as well as a part time employee at Raceway Park in Englishtown for 5 years.
Michael was a parishioner of St. John Vianney Church, Colonia. He was a member of the Lake Island Rifle and Pistol Club, the NRA, the NHRA and a past member of the Galloping Hill Cruisers and Edison Light Cruisers. He was an avid NY Yankee and NY Giants fan, loved drag racing and entering his 1969 Camaro in car shows.
In 1984, Mike tried out for the United States Olympic Small Bore Rifle Team in California.
He is predeceased by his grandparents Jeremiah and Margaret Scannell, grandfather Steven Hudak and mother-in-law Theodora Martino.
Surviving is his wife of 26 years, Lisa Hudak (nee Martino); his daughter Marissa Hudak of Iselin and his parents Robert and Beverly Hudak of Hopelawn; his grandmother Frances Hudak of Woodbridge and father-in-law Joseph Martino of Colonia.
Funeral services will take place Wednesday 8:45am at Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, Cooper Ave. and Green St., Iselin followed by a 9:30am Funeral Mass at St. John Vianney Church, Colonia.
Interment is in St. Gertrude Cemetery, Colonia.
Visitation is Tuesday 2-4 and 7-9
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
Mary Anne Hale Pavilion Haven Hospice,
65 James St., Edison, NJ 08818
5/1/13 - Some of us went down to Trenton yesterday. Our legislators are still trying to strip us of our second amendment rights. There were only two items that I would consider to be pluses: purchase permits would be eliminated (you would be able to purchase a handgun without a purchase permit) and the 10 round limit on magazines has been eliminated.
The new laws have some of the following items that will affect us negatively:
No more internet purchases of firearms or ammunition by NJ residents. All such purchases will now have to be made face-to-face.
Violence is now a public health crisis, which gets the Department of Health involved in every aspect of shooting.
Your second amendment rights will be withdrawn if you somehow wind up on either the No-Fly list or the Terorist list. Once you are on one of these lists, there is no procedure to appeal.
The NJFID card is now going to be part of your drivers licence. Both drivers license and FID have to be renewed every 4 years. I guess we have to wait for the background checks to complete before we can get our drivers license renewed. The FID portion will be contained within a barcode on the back of your license. You will not know for sure if your FID is in place until you try to purchase a gun. And you will not be able to purchase a firearm out of state without sending it back to an FFL in NJ. And every time you get stopped by the police, they will know you are a registered gun owner. This will open us up to untold harrassment. And, of course, our firearm rights will be in the hands of the DMV.
There is a rally on Saturday, May 11 in Trenton. For information check out the NJ Second Amendment Society's website for information: http://www.nj2as.com/
4/6/13 - Lake Island is back to normal operations. We still have some members who have not yet paid their dues. There are some matches coming up, contact Robin (732-396-3395) if you are interested in putting in some work hours.
3/13/13 - The work is complete. The Borough approved the repair work. All we need is to clean up the range. There will be an unscheduled work party on Saturday, March 16, at 8am to get the place all cleaned up and new plywood put up. We anticipate the club will be ready to reopen on Monday, the 18th.
3/1/13 - Our permits have been approved! We spoke to our contractor this morning to go over the plans for adding the new exhaust fan and blocking up the 2 fans that are now in place. It shouldn't be long now...
2/22/13 - We have engaged Sal Cursi as our contractor. He has all of the information he needs to submit the permits and expects to be able to begin repairs to the building within the next 2 weeks. The repairs to the building should take about a week to complete. After that, we estimate the repairs to the turning targets should take just a few more days.
We have received the report from the structural engineer and have chosen a contractor to do the repairs to the club. Turns out that the damage was worse than originally thought and will require an update to the engineer's report. It will take another week or two to make sure the borough building inspector, engineer, insurance adjuster and contractor are all on the same page. Once everyone is satisfied with the plans, we can proceed. I don't know how long that will take, but I hope it won't be more than a few weeks before we can begin repairs.
As most of you know, a car crashed into the Lake Island range on January 8th. The damage was fairly extensive and the range will be out of commission for some time. The meeting room is usable so we can still have meetings. Our insurance adjuster has already inspected the premises and a structural engineer is scheduled to survey the damage and put together a plan to make the necessary repairs. We anticipate having at least half of the range available to the membership after the structural repairs have been made. The repairs to the turning targets and the steel backstop for ports 8 through 10 will take a while longer. In the meantime, the Juniors will able to practice at Bayview range in Perth Amboy on a limited basis. South River has graciously offered to host the remaining weeks of the RVPL at their indoor range. We can begin shooting there on Tuesday, January 29th, at 5:30pm. I would like to thank everyone who offered their assistance at this very difficult time.
It was reported at the last meeting that the electrical work at the club is done. This permits us to start the next project.
The December meeting will be held on the 17th as the last two mondays of the month are Christmas eve and New Years eve.
Three new members were voted in at our meeting and they are George Roberts, Arthur Lokos and Tom Hackett. Welcome new members.
Nine people showed up at our meeting with applications for membership. They are James Hanlon, William Doyle, Allen Lasky, Frank Lenart, Samuel Firminich, Monika Mackie, Brenda Samat, Hartley Samat and Mark Maysonet. They will be presented with our program for membership.
Merry Christmas to all and to all good shooting!
Eight applicants were voted in as members at our last meeting and they were: David Watson, Maryalice Cassidy, John Brew, Dimitry Zlotnik, Robert Petrie, Roman Karpa, Alan Conklin and Louis Kleeman. The club welcomes them all.
Two people handed in their applications at the meeting and they were Thomas Hackett and Vincent Troyani.
Applicants will continue to shoot during the summer in preparation for orientation in September. There will be no meetings during the summer and will resume in September. Happy summer vacation to all and good shooting.
At the March meeting the following people handed in applications for membership - Jack Marchese, John Cole, Omar Jakubowski, James Machado and Robert Petrie.
Voted in for membership were Nick Sistasis, Frank Dutro, Kevin Brown and Brian Regas. Congrats to that group.
At the April meeting John Cole and Frank Toth were voted in as members. Welcome!
Also at the April meeting twelve new applicants were presented and they will have an opportunity to enter our program for membership. The names of these applicants were Jaye Drukas, Taryn Bostwick, Harvin Freedman, Jason Barretto, Anthony Panko, John Brew, George Roberts, Abraham Pitre, Louis Kleeman, Maryalice Cassidy, Dmitay Zlotnik and Joan Lokos.
Please note that there is only one more monthly meeting before the summer layover. It will be held on June 4th because the last Monday of May is Memorial Day .
Last Sunday had to be Karpa Sunday as Roman Karpa and his son Pete both requalified with a 9mm gun. Congrats to both.
It was announced at the previous meeting by Joe Castelli that the gunsmith at the Guild in Rahway will give a 10% discount on all repairs and modifications to members of our club. It's worth mentioning again.
At our meeting, Erik Jacobsen was voted in as a member.
Roman Karpa, David Watson and Alan Conklin were introduced as applicants at our last meeting.
Elections were held at the last meeting and all incumbents except the president were voted in. Joe Ivanitsky retired as president after about fifteen years and Andrew [Scotty] Kerr was voted in as our new president. Congrats to Scotty and welcome.
Four applicants have been invited into our program to become members and they are Everisto Soto, Frank Augustyn, Christian Young and Erik Jacobsen.
Also at our meeting, four applicants were voted in as members. They were Richard Tai, Dave Brandt, Eddie Falcon and John Penevolpe. We welcome them.
Remember that the new year dues are expected soon. The door combination will be changed and if your dues are not paid, you will not have access to the club.
Finally, Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all.