According to ConcealedNation.org, a North Carolina man who rushed to New Jersey to help with disaster relief now faces felony charges for taking common-sense steps to protect his team of tower climbers.
When Brian Fletcher mobilized his men to head up to New Jersey, he did what any law abiding gun owner in North Carolina would do when heading into unknown territory – bring his legally obtained pistol. The mission? Disaster relief for Trenton, New Jersey. According to Fletcher, him and his entire team had less than an hour to get their equipment together and proceed north. And in almost all the states in the Southeast, he would have been perfectly fine bringing his firearm with him.
On the night of June 28, Brian was waiting in a parking lot with his men and trucks to await further word on the next tower. A New Jersey police officer pulled up behind his truck and inquired as to what he was doing. According to Fletcher, they discussed the disaster relief work and so forth. It was then Fletcher handed over his ID and did what any law abiding citizen of North Carolina would do (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.12A.) – inform the officer that he had a firearm in his vehicle.
And that is where it quickly spirals downhill.
The State of New Jersey does not recognize any state’s right to carry firearms – in the vehicle or otherwise. In fact, it’s a class 2 felony. Fletcher went from disaster relief to having his entire life and livelihood in jeopardy in a matter of seconds. He was arrested and charged with carrying a firearm. He is currently back in North Carolina following a $25,000 bond.
Yes, folks. Brian Fletcher and his team went to the Armpit of the East Coast at their request, and is now facing felony charges for running afoul of New Jersey’s gun laws while attempting to abide by the laws and customs that he knew regarding lawful concealed carry.
Fletcher’s case sounds eerily like an echo of Shaneen Allen’s experience with New Jersey “justice.”
Allen was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction as she entered New Jersey from the free state of Pennsylvania, and dutifully informed the officer who pulled her over that she was licensed to carry a concealed handgun, and that she was armed. She, too, was subsequently arrested, and faced prison, before finally being pardoned by Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie.
The best that Fletcher can hope for under New Jersey’s hysterically oppressive gun laws is a pre-trial intervention program and a pardon from Governor Christie.
Concealed Nation has started a petition in hopes of raising the profile of Mr. Fletcher’s case and making this an issue that Governor Christie must address, with a goal of getting 1,000 signatures. I think they are setting their sights a little low.
What You Can Do
The most important thing you can do is let politicians know that this is an important issue for you, and that you will be watching this case and holding them accountable.
Email Governor Christie directly via the governor’s web site, and politely ask him to intervene on behalf of Brian Fletcher. Concealed Nation’s article on the subject offers an example letter you can copy and feel free to modify. They also have the contact information for relevant North Carolina and New Jersey elected officials who have influence in the outcome of Mr. Fletcher’s case.
Instances like these are emotionally draining, especially when they feel that they’ve been betrayed by a government they were asked to help.
Please go sign this petition, and leave a supportive comment for Mr. Fletcher and his family.
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Brian Fletcher was worried about getting his cell tower repair crews loaded and packed on an hour’s notice for an emergency response situation, and made a simple oversight in not learning whether or not New Jersey had concealed carry reciprocity before rushing to their aide. Once approached by a law enforcement officer, Fletcher acted as he was taught under North Carolina law, and informed the officer that he had a permit and was carrying a concealed weapon.
Too many Americans are running afoul of this absurd and ever-changing patchwork of concealed carry laws in the United States. It’s long past time that we pass federal legislation for national concealed carry reciprocity.