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Pardoning Legal Behavior

October 30, 2015 | Posted In Criminal Law - Criminal Law |

Gun control can be tricky to regulate, especially across state lines, and gun owners often get caught in the crosshairs between possession and carry laws in their state and the laws of the state they may be visiting. Police officers who are trying to enforce their state’s laws may be unknowingly violating a legal gun owner’s right to carry a weapon, depending on where the owner is coming from and what laws are applicable in a given situation.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently pardoned three gun crimes, upholding a promise he made in August to excuse legal gun owners who have been mistakenly caught by the state’s strict transport and carry laws for firearms. The three individuals, Todd Doering, Brian Lee Fletcher and Elizabeth Jane Griffin, were granted “full and free pardons” by the governor.

Doering is from Lansdale, PA, and he was arrested in 2010 when police pulled over his brother for drinking a can of hard iced tea in his car. Doering had a Glock .22 caliber handgun on his person, which he owned legally when they were caught in Gloucester County’s Logan Township.

Fletcher was arrested last June after performing emergency, storm-related utility repairs in Hamilton Township. He voluntarily told a police officer that he had a handgun in his car. Fletcher is from Butner, NC.

Griffith was arrested by the U.S Park Police a month later in July when she tried to get on the ferry to Ellis Island from Jersey City with her legally-owned gun. She is from Daytona Beach, Florida.

Gov. Christie had vowed to do more to protect gun owners who have come up against the New Jersey gun control laws, which are some of the most stringent in the country. He has pardoned a total of five people so far this year, including the above-mentioned three. The first two pardons were issued to Shaneen Allen, a mother from Pennsylvania, and Steffon Josey-Davis from North Brunswick. Both were arrested during traffic stops after they let officers know they had legal firearms.

Reciprocity Agreements

In 37 other states, legislators have established firearm permit reciprocity agreements with at least one other state. These agreements allow gun owners who have legal permits to carry in their own states to bring their guns into other states without being arrested or viewed as breaking the law. Other states have agreements that recognize any carry permit issued by another state.

New Jersey does not recognize a permit issued in any other state. Without a reciprocity agreement, this leaves gun owners from other states — like Griffith, Fletcher, and Doering — open to police inquiry and even arrest if they admit to having their legally-owned guns on them.

At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, a New Jersey criminal law firm, we represent anyone who has been charged with gun crimes, especially out-of-state visitors who have run afoul of the state’s gun laws. It’s important to have a lawyer on your side who knows the state’s laws. For more information, contact an attorney at HCK today.

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