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Tipsheet

Total Disaster: New Jersey’s Gun Laws Prevent Some Ex-Law Enforcement From Carrying

So, we all know that the Garden State is where Second Amendment rights go to die. It’s a state where a senior citizen possessing a 300-year old antique flintlock pistol was arrested and faced a ten-year jail sentence. It’s a total disaster–and now even ex-law enforcement members are being prevented from carrying firearms. They may be campus police officers, but they still take an oath–and some carry firearms.

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Yet, the 1997 law that then-Gov. Christie Todd Whitman signed didn’t include this brand of law enforcement. And New Jersey’s State Police aren’t giving any latitude until the legislature changes the text.

As Mark Di Ionno of The Star-Ledger wrote earlier this month, the impetus for the law that allowed ex-cops to carry firearms was the 1995 murder of former Hanover Township police chief John Deventer. He was killed trying to prevent a carjacking at Newark’s Fairmount Cemetery. As Di Ionno pointed out, the law barring niche police units is ironic since the one of the persons who gave chase to Deventer’s killers was a University Hospital police officer:

New Jersey statute 2C:39-6 (l) currently lists eligible retired police as federal, state, county or municipal officers, sheriff's officers, corrections officers, park police and county prosecutor investigators. It specifically includes any former "full-time member of a state law enforcement agency."

The State Police have responsibility for administering the law – meaning permit approval is their call – and say the statute needs to be clarified to include public university police.

"We're following the statute," said Capt. Stephen Jones, the State Police spokesman. "If the Legislature includes campus police, then by all means, we would be more than happy to approve them."

[…]

Ironic, too, is that New Jersey university officers often have more crime experience than small-town cops or park police.

[…]

University Hospital is the gunshot wound capital of New Jersey. Rolling through the emergency room doors with those gunshot wounds is a cauldron of emotional craziness, from angry friends and family of the injured to killers looking to finish the job.

[…]

New Jersey and the other 49 states have reciprocal agreements so, for example, if a retired Penn State cop has the right to carry in Pennsylvania, he can carry in New Jersey.

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Absurdity thy name is New Jersey. Yet, let’s not bash the Garden State too much; they have amazing diners.

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