I live in Kansas, where no permit is required to carry a concealed handgun and, with local exceptions, open carry was always legal.
I live right on the borders of Oklahoma and Missouri, and have to travel to both states routinely, so fortunately for me, Oklahoma recognizes all Constitutional carry states, and Missouri last year passed Constitutional carry as well.
But were I to travel to say — New Jersey — I could end up a felon for doing something completely legal in my home state.
Now I don’t live on the East Coast, so the odds of me ending up like Donna Marie Gracey, 59, of Seminole, Florida, late last year, who got pulled over for — no joke — having tinted windows, Nj.com said.
While she was searching for her license, officers spotted a concealed weapons permit, according to a press release.
An investigation revealed Gracey had the handgun in her purse, authorities said.
Though Gracey had a permit to carry the gun in her home state, New Jersey’s strict gun laws require weapons to be stored unloaded and locked in the trunk.
Gracey is far from the only person caught this way in Jersey, as outgoing Gov. Chris Christie has just issued several pardons to people who were simply transporting their legally-owned firearms through the Garden State, according to Guns.com
On his last week in office, outgoing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie granted over two dozen pardons including several to those who had been ensnared by the state’s firearm laws.
Christie granted 26 orders for clemency, almost all pardons, bringing his eight-year total of such actions to just 55. Among those granted relief were media consultant Brian Aitken and Marine Sgt. Hisashi Pompey, men who had been arrested and found guilty of criminal weapon possession even though they had clear records and owned guns legally bought outside the state.
The Aiken case, is particularly egregious, as the gun was locked in his trunk.
Aiken, arrested in 2009 with two locked and unloaded handguns he had purchased legally in Colorado in the trunk of his car, had originally been sentenced to seven years in prison and released after four months following a commutation order from Christie in 2010. Aiken later wrote a book about his experience, subtitled, “How the Left’s War on Guns Cost Me My Son and My Freedom.”
I’ve opposed that forever. I think each state should be able to make their determination on how they govern handgun and other gun ownership throughout their state.
The problem here, is this is manifestly not a states’ rights issue. In McDonald v. Chicago SCOTUS held that the 2nd Amendment applies to the Several States. Reciprocity, therefore, is within the purview of Congress. The bottom line here is that draconian laws like New Jersey’s are making felons of otherwise law-abiding folks who may not even be aware of the differences. That alone makes it imperative that the Senate pass — and President Trump sign — the Act.
You should never be a criminal simply for exercising your rights.