One of the biggest battles we have going on in the Second Amendment community is the matter of possession outside the home. As even the most liberal justices in the Heller decision admitted, the definition of “bear” means to “to carry”. Yet what do anti-gunners say when it comes to possession of firearms outside the home? They stick to their argument that Heller only protects firearms inside the home and keep their fingers crossed that one day SCOTUS will confine the right to bear arms to your residence.
Well, in New Jersey, even possession inside the home is not being respected by the Government.
Under New Jersey law, exemptions to unlawful possession specifically exempt and allow possession of rifles, shotguns, and handguns within one’s home or on land one possesses. New Jersey does not require a permit or license to possess firearms within one’s home.
Now consider the disturbing case of New Jersey man, John Miragliotta, who was recently arrested on eleven counts of unlawful possession of a firearm inside his home. The details that lead up what brought police to “Uncle John’s” home in the first place are of zero consequence since he meets all the statutory requirements to possess firearms within his home.
Miragliotta is being represented by attorney Evan F. Nappen, who says of the matter:
My client was arrested for possession of eleven long arms in his home. This is preposterous. We are not even talking the ‘scary guns.” We’re talking about a collection of BB guns and hunting shotguns. Yet, he’s facing over fifty years in New Jersey State Prison. This is another example of New Jersey making a law-abiding citizen into a criminal. Possession in the home is under exemption of New Jersey’s law and, further, this matter was the crux of the Heller decision – possession in the home.
At the latest court appearance, the assistant prosecutor indicated that the State is not presenting any plea offer and are directly moving for indictment.
With last year’s U.S. Supreme Court mooting the NYSRPC v. City of New York case and rejecting to hear a dozen other 2A cases — many of which dealt with the right to carry firearms outside the home — the legal issue of possession of firearms outside the home remains a battle. But if states like New Jersey wish to lean on the narrow provisions pronounced in Heller and McDonald, then they should not be allowed to arrest honest citizens for having arms within their residences as specifically protected under Heller and McDonald.
Miragliotta’s case should be dismissed immediately, and this injustice should not be allowed to continue. You can follow and support Miragliotta at his Go Fund Me Page, where updates are being posted about the status of this matter. Meanwhile, I’ll be be closely following this case, and will provide updates when there’s more news to report.
John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of “Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use” and NRA certified pistol, rifle and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii