Man's ordeal highlights severity of New Jersey firearm laws

A New Jersey man has received a pardon after pleading guilty to firearm charges in what he says was an honest mistake.

North Brunswick man receives pardon after conviction for "honest mistake"

A New Jersey man has received a full pardon after he was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm in what he describes as an "honest mistake," according to the Courier News. While the man legally owned the firearm in question, he was still waiting for a permit when he was pulled over by police, which began his long ordeal. While his recent pardon means he will not have to bear the burden of a criminal record, critics say the case is an example of the harsh firearm laws people in New Jersey currently face.

Legally owned gun

The man in this case, who was a driver for an armored truck company and had been pursuing a job as a police officer, legally owned the gun in question, but was still waiting for his permit to be approved which would allow him to carry the gun, according to Fox News. The man says that as he was getting ready for work in his garage his six-year-old sister came in and surprised him. Wanting to avoid any accidents, the man hid the gun in his glove compartment. After putting his sister to bed, he returned to the garage to go to work, forgetting that the firearm was still in his glove compartment.

The man was later pulled over by police because his vehicle registration had expired that same day. When he reached into the glove compartment to retrieve the registration, he noticed the firearm and voluntarily surrendered it to police, who told him he could pick it up the next day at the police station. When he went to the station to do just that, however, he was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon because he did not have a permit allowing him to carry the firearm.

Social media campaign

The charge is a serious one and carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. Instead of risking years behind bars, the man agreed to plead guilty in exchange for probation. However, the guilty plea nonetheless meant that he lost his job as an armored truck driver and would have to give up his dream of becoming a police officer. In response, the individual started a social media campaign highlighting his plight which gathered tens of thousands of supporters.

Eventually the campaign led to Governor Chris Christie issuing the man a pardon, thus allowing him to pursue a career in law enforcement after all. Nonetheless, critics say that not all individuals who find themselves in similar circumstances can count on a pardon. Instead, they say that New Jersey's current gun laws are overly strict and, as in this case, risk netting those who simply make innocent mistakes and pose no risk to society.

Criminal defense

Facing a criminal charge can be a harrowing prospect and requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Such an attorney can help anybody accused with an offense fight for their rights and freedoms and ultimately lessen the impact a charge may otherwise have on his or her future.

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