3/02 NJ Cops Tightening Screws On Gun Owners

NJ Cops: Tightening the Screws On Those Gun Owners
Larry Pratt

New Jersey gun owners are increasingly being treated as a hated minority, not worthy of trust, who must be kept under constant surveillance and harassment to keep them in line.

Some time ago, the New Jersey legislature deemed large capacity magazines over 15 rounds as too dangerous to be possessed by mere citizens. The state police magnanimously allowed owners of such magazines to insert temporary blocks to restrict the capacity to the politically correct number of rounds.

No doubt this was how the legislature and the state police determined that they were not infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.

Well, the state police seem to have discovered that they cannot trust “those people” with a mere temporary blockage, so they have mandated that the blockage must now be welded in.

The state police, in their wisdom, have not disclosed why magazines that licensed dealers were allowed to sell are now too dangerous to be owned without further and expensive modification. Perhaps there has been some unpublicized rash of crimes committed by criminals using these magazines. Perhaps these crimes were too horrific for the public to hear of them, and the police prevented the media from covering what they otherwise would have treated by journalism’s first rule: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

An alternate explanation for the change in the rule would be, quite simply, that this is an unintended consequence of the heightened media attention following a number of state police shootings of civilians. In addition to this public relations nightmare, New Jersey police have taken a lot of heat for racial profiling.

Gun owners unaware of the new policy will become instant criminals who will be so numerous that new barracks will have to be constructed for all the new state police needed to arrest the new gun criminals.

Clearly the police are less likely to take heat in the media for targeting gun owners. As far as the media is concerned, “everybody knows” that gun owners deserve what they get. Right?

On another note, New Jersey gun owners got some good news and some bad news following a lawsuit brought to stop illegal fees from being charged to people applying for a firearms owner identification card. Applicants in seven counties (Sussex, Passaic, Morris, Essex, Union, Mercer and Camden) had to pay an illegal fee for a mental health background check.

A Gun Owners of New Jersey member, Allen Dixler, brought the suit on his, and the organization’s, behalf. Dixler prevailed, and an appellate court in the state ordered that the fees be stopped because state law clearly forbade charging fees.

The kicker, however, is that gun owners in the seven counties have to know about the decision and then go to small claims court if they want to get their money back. There will be no checks automatically written.

The double standard used for the ruling class versus mere citizens is rather obvious in this case.

The counties said they should not be required to pay the money back because they had already used it. Perhaps Jessie James could have used the same argument.

The court found that the counties had broken the law, but other than the treble damages that could be assessed from taxpayer funds in small claims court, no government official will pay from his pocket, or risk any jail time. What would happen if thousands of citizens had broken a law in this way? They might well have faced charges under the racketeering statutes and lost their property and bank accounts. (Have you ever thought about this: it is illegal to lie to the government, but not for the government to lie to the people?)

Oh, well, if you live in one of the seven counties, it would be a good idea to go to a small claims court. The main cost in doing so will be your time, but justice suggests that this would not be too big a sacrifice and you might get treble damages plus interest awarded.