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Seven years for transporting two unloaded handguns in his trunk. That’s what 27-year-old Brian Aitken was facing when the judge dropped the gavel.
Arrested in 2009, when police officers found two handguns unloaded and locked in the trunk of his car, Aitken was just sentenced in August to seven years in prison. You see, in New Jersey, if you want to legally transport your handgun from one location to another, you must request a permit from a local law enforcement office and produce a letter stating why it is necessary to move a gun.
We are about to learn whether New Jersey governor Chris Christie is a true conservative or simply another RINO with conservative fiscal credentials. And it’s not at all a foregone conclusion that he’s the former. Christie has hemmed and hawed on the subject of government intrusion on our right to bear arms in the past, and, other than the President of the United States, he is the only one who is now standing between Aitken and the jailhouse doors.
“Listen, at the end of the day, what I support are common sense laws that will allow people to protect themselves,” Christie told Sean Hannity in 2009. “But I also am very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets. Very concerned. And I want to make sure that we don’t have an abundance of guns out there.”
Oh, really? In 2007, the most recent year available, 43% of New Jersey’s citizens reported gang activity in their neighborhoods. Just how many Crips, Bloods and MS-13 members does Governor Christie think ask the local police before they tuck their Glock 21s under their belts and go out? Carjackings were up in 2009 and 67% of them involved firearms. A rape occurs every 45 minutes and a robbery every hour.
Aitken had just moved back to his native New Jersey from Colorado, to be closer to his child after a divorce, when he was arrested. He was allegedly transporting the weapons to a new residence—as if he should have had to ask for permission in the first place—an exemption under New Jersey law. Ironically, New Jersey ranks above Colorado in gun violence, which has far more lenient gun laws.
Thirty-eight percent of Americans own handguns, but over the last 50 years states like New Jersey, California and Illinois have continued to tighten restrictions on the possession and carrying of firearms. Recent Supreme Court decisions seem to be shifting towards gun owners, but cities like New York, which has had downright totalitarian gun laws for nearly 100 years, have not gotten the message.
Citizens across New Jersey are protesting Brian Aitken’s severe sentence and a couple of groups have established websites demanding that Governor Christie commute or pardon him. A rally will be held Dec. 12, in Towns River, N.J. Aitken’s family is asking Chris Christie to grant clemency
“I think it’s a travesty for a number of reasons,” Clark Neily, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, told The Daily Caller. “I think that New Jersey gun laws, specifically ones about concealed carry are blatantly unconstitutional … no other constitutional right is left up to unfettered discretion of a government official.”
“The second problem,” Neily added, “is that a law-abiding citizen should not have to prove they have some imminent need to exercise their constitutional right.”
Here, here. Governor Chris Christie should pardon Brian Aitken immediately; it doesn’t take a committee to see that an injustice is in progress here. Christie’s office is not commenting.