There are real penalties for running contrary to the Left’s agenda…especially when you have the temerity to not share their priorities and you dare to move freely in their territories. This cautionary tale comes courtesy of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Unlike a Somali youth who did his damnest to carry out the cold-blooded murder of innocent people, and was only stopped due to FBI involvement, Brian Aitken is serving a 7 year sentence for transporting two handguns, ammunition, and magazines he legally owned.
Brian, a law-abiding citizen who was in the process of moving from Colorado to New Jersey after a divorce, expressed some disappointment with his life after his ex-wife cancelled a scheduled visitation with his son. Mom, a social worker, was concerned that he might do something stupid, and called the police.
Sue Aitken, a trained social worker, decided to play it safe and called police, but she hung up before the 9-1-1 dispatcher could answer. Police traced the call and showed up anyway, and found two handguns in the trunk of Brian’s car.
Thanks, Mom! Clearly another case of government involvement improving the lives of average, everyday citizens.
But unlike that Somali youth in Oregon, Aitken had the misfortune to have offended the gun-fearing-wussies (GFWs) of New Jersey, and there would be no mercy for this heinous crime of transporting firearms and ammunition legally owned.
When Mount Laurel police arrived at the Aitkens’ home on Jan. 2, 2009, they called Brian – who was driving to Hoboken – and asked him to return to his parents’ home because they were worried. When he arrived, the cops checked his Honda Civic and, inside the trunk, in a box stuffed into a duffel bag with clothes, they found two handguns, both locked and unloaded as New Jersey law requires. [emphasis added]
Aitken had passed an FBI background check to buy them in Colorado when he lived there, his father said, and had contacted New Jersey State Police and discussed the proper way to transport them. [Again, emphasis added]
Transported in the manner that the law required, just as he was informed when he asked NJ authorities. But wait! There’s more!
In the Garden State, Aitken was required to have a purchaser’s permit from New Jersey to own the guns and a carry permit to have them in his car.
He also was charged with having “large capacity” magazines and hollow-point bullets, which one state gun-control advocate found troubling.
“What little I can glean about the transportation issue leaves me puzzled, but a person with common sense would not be moving illegal products from one place to another by car,” said Bryan Miller, executive director of CeaseFire NJ, an organization devoted to reducing gun violence.
Imagine that, a gun-fearing-wussy who fears guns for a living can’t imagine how it might be that a person might not consider that ammunition legal in one state might not be legal in another, and that the owner might not think to check on that when moving. Huh.
And it couldn’t be that there might be an exception for someone moving, could there?
New Jersey allows exemptions for gun owners to transport weapons for hunting or if they are moving from one residence to another. During the trial, Aitken’s mother testified that her son was moving things out, and his friend in Hoboken testified he was moving things in. A Mount Laurel officer, according to Larry Aitken, testified that he saw boxes of dishes and clothes in the Honda Civic on the day of the arrest.
Mom said he was moving, car full of stuff that people might have in their home, but would be unusual to carry around in your car for no reason, friend said he was in process of moving in. Damn. That is a hard one to figure out. At least for the judge and the prosecutor.
The exemption statute, according to the prosecutor’s office, specifies that legal guns can be transported “while moving.” Despite testimony about his moving to Hoboken, a spokesman for the prosecutor said the evidence suggested that Aitken had moved months earlier, from Colorado to Mount Laurel. “Again, there was no evidence that he was then presently moving,” spokesman Joel Bewley said.
After Nappen raised the moving-exemption issue, he said, the jury asked Judge Morley for the exemption statute several times and he refused to hand it over to them. Morley, in a phone interview, echoed the sentiments of the prosecutor’s office.
“My recollection of the case is that I ruled he had not presented evidence sufficient to justify giving the jury the charge on the affirmative offense that he was in the process of moving,” Morley said.
Yes, because dishes and clothes in the car, and the testimony of your Mom and your new roommate isn’t sufficient evidence. And that whole “presumption of innocence” and conviction on evidence “beyond a shadow of a doubt” thing? It doesn’t apply to those who would assert rights the nanny staters do not wish you to have.
Of course, the Judge’s mental acuity really isn’t all that, either, as you note at the end of the news story.