Chris Christie Commutes Gun Owner's Sentence

Helen Whalen Cohen
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Posted: Dec 22, 2010 12:08 PM
Some good news: Governor Christie commuted Brian Aitken's prison sentence from 7 years to time served. Aitken can now go home for Christmas instead of spending it in jail.

Aitken was convicted for gun possession in 2009. He was arrested after the police found three (unloaded, locked) handguns in his car. He purchased the guns legally in Colorado, but hadn't gone through the rigorous process of obtaining a license in New Jersey after moving there. (Though he did pass a federal background check and print out a copy of New Jersey's gun laws so that he could comply to the best of his ability.) New Jersey has a handful of exceptions that do allow someone to possess a gun, including traveling between residences, which is what Aitken was doing at the time.

During the trial, Aitken's mother and roommate both testified that Aitken was moving his possessions between his parents house and his new apartment, and an officer testified that his car was full of personal belongings. The jury asked three times about exceptions to the law that Aitken was convicted under, but the judge refused to answer each time.

We are happy to report that this story has a happy ending. Governor Christie commuted Brian Aitken's 7 year prison sentence and refused to reappoint that judge.

Merry Christmas and congratulations to the Aitken family!