UPDATE: Michael Eitel was discovered in a Berlin Township home garage on June 8, less than two miles from Bowne's residence. He hung himself.
We already know the gun laws in New Jersey are insane. To purchase a handgun, one needs to obtain a firearm identification card, which is a process that could take months. Well, that process left a woman dead Wednesday, stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend, who is now being pursued by the U.S. Marshals Service (via Courier Post):
When Carol Bowne felt the threat of domestic violence, the petite hairdresser took steps to protect herself.
The Berlin Township woman got a restraining order against a former boyfriend, installed security cameras and an alarm system to her home and began the months-long process of obtaining a handgun, friends said.
But it wasn't enough.
Bowne, 39, was stabbed to death in the driveway of her Patton Avenue home on Wednesday night.
Her former boyfriend, 45-year-old Michael Eitel, was charged with her murder. Eitel, a convicted felon, was a fugitive Thursday, being sought by a U.S. Marshals Service task force.
Berlin Township Police Chief Leonard Check said Bowne applied for a gun license on April 21, and that she had inquired Monday about her request.
The application process typically takes two months or more as police collect information on the applicant, including fingerprints and reference checks. "We did not get the fingerprint information yet," said Check.
Police went to the home around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, when they found Bowne lying in the driveway with multiple stab wounds. Bowne was taken to Virtua Hospital in Berlin, where she was pronounced dead at 11:22 p.m.
(a) Every person applying for a firearms purchaser identification card or for a permit to purchase a handgun shall furnish such information and particulars as are set forth in the application form designated STS-33, in the case of an identification card, or STS 33A, in the case of a permit to purchase. Forms can be obtained from municipal police departments, State Police stations and licensed retail firearms dealers.
(b) The applicant shall waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement.
(c) The applicant shall provide the names and addresses of two reputable citizens personally acquainted with him as references.
(d) The application shall be signed by the applicant and the completed application, together with two sets of the applicant's fingerprints and fees as established by N.J.A.C. 13:59 in accordance with N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.5 et seq. (P.L. 1985, c. 69), a consent for mental health records search form designated STS-1 and a nonrefundable application fee of $5.00 for a firearms identification card and $2.00 for a permit to purchase a handgun, shall be submitted to the chief of police of an organized full time police department in the municipality in which the applicant resides. If the municipality does not have an organized full time police department, application shall be made to the State Police station servicing the municipality in which the applicant resides, or to any State Police station in the case of a non-resident.
(e) The chief of police of an organized full time police department of the municipality where the applicant resides, or the Superintendent, when the applicant is a non-resident of this State or when the municipality does not have a full time department, shall accept and investigate applications for firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase handguns.
(f) The fingerprints of any applicant shall be compared with any fingerprints maintained by the State Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Identification for the purpose of ascertaining the existence of any criminal record. The fingerprints shall be obtained and submitted for such comparison by the chief of police or the State Police, as the case may be.
(g) An applicant for a handgun purchase permit who possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, or who has previously obtained a handgun purchase permit from the same licensing authority for which he or she was previously fingerprinted, and who provides other reasonable satisfactory proof of his or her identity, in the discretion of the chief of police or Superintendent, need not be fingerprinted again. In such case, the chief of police or superintendent shall otherwise fully investigate the application in accordance with this subchapter.
(h) Applicants for a permit to purchase a handgun may apply for more than one permit per application. The number of permits requested, and each permit number shall be entered in the spaces provided on the application.
(i) The chief of police or the Superintendent, as the case may be, shall either approve or disapprove the applications. Permits and cards shall be issued by the chief of police or the Superintendent to persons who are found to be qualified and who are not subject to any of the disabilities set forth by this subchapter.
These laws arguably cost Bowne her life. She needed the firearm to protect herself immediately, and the police didn’t even get her fingerprints after two months. As Charles Cooke at National Review concluded in his piece over this awful incident, the loving, jovial, and law-abiding Bowne was killed waiting to exercise her constitutional right to a handgun, while her convicted felon of an ex-boyfriend stabbed her, and is now roaming free somewhere evading law enforcement:
There can be few clearer illustrations of the folly of draconian firearms regulations than this. The killer was a convicted felon who had previously been found guilty of weapons offenses and aggravated assault, and who is now on the run from federal authorities. The victim was a “bubbly, well-liked,” law-abiding woman who did not want to run afoul of the government even when she sensed that her life was in danger. If “government” is just another word for the things we do together, then, frankly, we failed — and damnably. All Carol Bowne asked was that she be permitted to exercise her right to protect herself in her own home; instead, she ended up bleeding to death in her driveway, as the paper-pushers and know-it-alls decided whether they would deign to indulge her request, and her killer sped away, without fear of retaliation or injury.
Is that justice? Is that sane? Is that how gun control is supposed to work? Obviously, gun control advocates don’t (hopefully they don’t) want innocent lives to be lost (even though they use them as campaign fodder), but this is usually the byproduct of their policies; the innocent, law-abiding suffer, while the criminals roam free, inflicting violence on the rest of us.
The Courier Post reported that Eitel plead guilty to a weapons charge in 2008 that stemmed from his 2006 indictment on aggravated assault. He was given a five-year sentence for that offense.