New Jersey, or New Germany, as my friend from the Garden State likes to call it, just ruined another innocent man’s life. Steffan Josie-Davis is the latest victim of New Jersey’s archaic gun laws.
Steffan was just a young man trying to make an honest living. In 2013, Steffan was working as an armed security guard. As you might expect, the security company provided him with a handgun – a 9mm Smith and Wesson – for work.
According to the article, Steffan was in his garage inspecting some of his gear before work when his 6-year-old sister came into the garage. Not wanting her to see the gun, Steffan placed it in his glove compartment. However, before he left, Steffan forgot to remove the gun from this glove compartment.
Shortly after he left his apartment, Steffan was pulled over by the police for suspicion of an expired registration. When Steffan went to retrieve the registration from his glove compartment, he found his gun. He immediately informed the officers of the situation. The officers took his gun, gave him two tickets for the vehicle, and then informed Steffan that he could pick up his gun at the police station the next day.
When Steffan went to retrieve his gun from the station, he was promptly arrested by officers and charged with felony possession of a firearm – a crime that carries a five-year minimum jail sentence.
Let that sink in. This young man was subject to a five-year jail sentence for just possessing a firearm. Unfortunately, this type of nonsense is to be expected from the unjust New Jersey justice system.
Over the past few years, there has been a disturbing trend in New Jersey: arrest individuals for breaking non-violent gun laws, and then throw the book at them.
A few years ago, we had the case of Brian Aitken. If you are unfamiliar with the case, you can read about it here, but I will also provide you with a brief summary.
In January of 2009, Brian Aitken’s car was packed with stuff. You see, Brian was in the process of moving all his belongings from Colorado, back to New Jersey – guns were a part of those belongings. For reasons that are not relevant to this story, the police decided to search Brian’s car. During the search, the police found Brian’s guns. They were locked, unloaded, and stored in the trunk, just as New Jersey law requires for transporting firearms. However, the police decided to arrest Brian and charge him with unlawful possession of a firearm.
In the end, a Judge found Brian guilty and sentenced him to seven years in prison. Even though Governor Chris Christie did commute his sentence, the gun charges remained on Brian’s record. Because of this sentence, Brian was also deemed an unfit parent by the judge. Because of this ruling, Brian hasn’t seen his son in over five years. His words are heartbreaking:
In New Jersey, where I think he still lives, it’s almost 11 AM. Maybe he’s on his way to T-Ball. Maybe he’s sleeping in. Does he even play T-Ball? He turned five a few months ago so he might. I have to google “what age do kids start playing T-Ball?”
Let’s be clear: the state of New Jersey is directly responsible for a child growing up without a father in his life.
Brian Aitken is not the only one to suffer at the hands of an unjust New Jersey court system. Recently, we have seen the case of Shaneen Allen. Again, I will provide a brief summary, but you can read a more detailed account her story here.
Shaneen Allen is the Philadelphia mom that carried her gun into New Jersey because she thought her concealed carry permit was valid in the state. During her trip into New Jersey, Ms. Allen was pulled over by the cops for a minor traffic offense. During this stop, Ms. Allen informed the officers that she had a gun and possessed a valid carry permit for the state of Pennsylvania.
Because of her honesty, Ms. Allen was immediately arrested and faced a gun charge that carried a minimum sentence of three years in prison. However, due to public backlash, the judge “allowed” her to enter a pretrial intervention program – how thoughtful of him.
While it may have been better than prison, this criminal gun-charge has dealt Ms. Allen a significant blow. It has tainted her image, and it has been a huge hindrance to her professional career. In a recent interview, she said that the arrest has prevented her from finding work:
The paper comes back to me when I request from my background with unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of the bullets so that’s on my background.
I hope the state of New Jersey is happy with making Ms. Allen’s children suffer because of their unjust firearm regulations.
The young man that I mentioned at the start of this article, Steffan Josie-Davis, is also having trouble finding work. Apparently, companies are wary of hiring individuals that have a gun related charge on their criminal record.
2014 was a good year for the Second Amendment, and 2015 has the potential to be even better. However, gun owners shouldn’t look to the New Jersey legislature for help in overturning their flawed gun laws, and the Governor, Chris Christie, isn’t going out of his way to advocate for more protections for gun owners.
If you’re a gun owner, and you live in New Jersey, I have one suggestion: move.
It’s just a matter of time before the New Jersey injustice system finds a way to charge you with a crime.
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