New Jersey: Gun advocates, foes debate magazine limits
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    Postak New Jersey: Gun advocates, foes debate magazine limits

    To gun-rights advocates, the legislation at best represented a misguided attempt to stem violence that would only embolden criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens. At worst, they detected a ruse whose end game was to confiscate all guns.


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    TRENTON The emotionally charged rhetoric that dominates the national conversation on gun control returned to New Jersey's capital Thursday, as supporters and opponents of a proposed restriction on magazine ammunition capacity debated the causes - and at times the facts - of some of the country's worst episodes of violence.

    To gun-rights advocates, the legislation at best represented a misguided attempt to stem violence that would only embolden criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens. At worst, they detected a ruse whose end game was to confiscate all guns.

    To gun-control groups, the bill was a common-sense solution to an epidemic of mass shootings.

    Ultimately, after more than three hours of testimony, the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee voted 5-3, along party lines, to advance a proposal that would limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds, down from 15.

    The panel also voted by the same margin to advance a bill that would clarify the circumstances in which certain authorized gun owners are allowed to transport firearms.
    "If you're a sportsman, if you're a shooter, a hunter, you don't need that high magazine capacity clip," Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D., Camden) told the committee over snickering from some in the audience. "Is it an inconvenience? Maybe. But the range isn't firing back."

    Greenwald, a sponsor of the magazine-restriction bill, offered evidence from the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and of a congresswoman in Tucson, Ariz. Those cases and others, he said, show that when shooters pause to reload their guns, would-be victims have time to escape or attack their assailant.

    Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R., Huntderdon), who voted against the bill, countered with the story of a woman who had run out of ammunition while trying to defend herself from a criminal who had invaded her home.

    "We're going after the law-abiding individual. And we're not going after the criminal," Peterson said, adding that criminals could simply cross the Delaware River and buy high-capacity magazines in Pennsylvania.

    Perhaps of most immediate concern, opponents said, was that hundreds of thousands of guns with 15-round magazines would become illegal overnight if the bill were to become law. Greenwald said the bill would not ban those guns because they also could accommodate 10 rounds.

    Some gun owners testified that they wouldn't fork over their property, while others said the legislation would endanger their families. All agreed that they believed it violated their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

    Anthony P. Colandro, chief executive of Gun for Hire, a firearms training center in Belleville, said his range includes $20,000 worth of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. "Who will compensate me for those?" he asked.

    Shyanne Roberts, 9, of Franklinville, Gloucester County, said the bill would put her at a disadvantage as a competitive shooter. Her competitors use magazines with 15 rounds or more, said Shyanne, who testified alongside her father, Dan.

    "I will be forced to choose between giving up on a very bright and promising future in a sport that I love, or asking my dad if we can move to another state. I will not be giving up my sport," she said to a standing ovation from some of the gun-rights supporters in the audience.

    Even as the majority of those who testified opposed the bill, some gun-rights advocates privately conceded they were unlikely to halt the proposal in the Legislature.

    The Assembly passed the legislation last year as part of a broader gun-control package, but Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) blocked the measure in the upper chamber.

    Sweeney is now behind it, saying he changed his position after meeting with the families of children slain at Sandy Hook in December 2012. Parents of two of those children appeared at a Statehouse news conference last month when Sweeney and other top Democrats announced they were introducing the high-capacity magazine ban.

    Six states and the District of Columbia restrict magazine capacity to 10 rounds. New Jersey has the third-strongest gun laws in the country, according to 2013 rankings compiled by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, including a ban on assault weapons.

    Yet the state continues to grapple with gun violence, suggesting the limitations of those laws, said Darin Goens, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.

    "Who thinks that Adam Lanza or Dylan Klebold are going to walk into those schools and say, 'I'm going to shoot up the school, but I sure want to be in compliance with the state's magazine restriction?' " Goens told the panel, referring to the gunmen at Sandy Hook and in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo. "That's simply not going to happen."

    Nicola Bocour of CeasfireNJ had a different take. Given that mass shootings seem to be a fact of life, she said, "don't you want that shooter to have to reload? Wouldn't you want that moment of hope?"

    The bill needs to pass the full Assembly and Senate before heading to Gov. Christie's desk.

    At a town-hall meeting Thursday in Mount Laurel, Christie, a Republican, told an NRA member who asked his position on the magazine-capacity bill that he would evaluate the proposal "if and when it gets to my desk."

    "I spent seven years prosecuting crime. There are real solutions to crime. And there are solutions to crime that just sound good," said Christie, a former U.S. attorney.

    Christie pointed to his veto last year of a ban on .50-caliber weapons, which "didn't make sense," he said. If the magazine limit passes the Legislature, "I'm going to judge that bill . . . by the exact same standard."


    Manasquan, NJ --( Last week I broke the story of well known and outspoken NJ Gun Law Critic, James Kaleda, being targeted by the New Jersey State Police over claims that he provided false information on a NJ Non Resident Firearms I.D. Card Application.
    At that time I promised that I would be following the story closely and update readers as things developed.
    Well, they have. Early last week James advised, via Social Media, that Police Officers from Pennsylvania were at his home and he was being taken into custody on an arrest warrant issued by the NJ State Police for the charge of providing false information on a NJ Non Resident Firearms I.D. Card Application.
    An offense that is treated as a third degree felony in New Jersey,  punishable by up to five years in State Prison if convicted.
    Mr Kaleda was detained and is currently being held in the Northampton County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania. An extradition hearing was held on Friday March 7th 2014, when extradition was waived. Mr Kaleda now awaits NJ State Police Authorities to have him transferred to NJ before he can go before a NJ Judge to post bail. A process which the State apparently has up to ninety days to complete.
    Mr Kaleda has retained noted NJ Firearms Law Expert and Attorney, Evan Nappen, for his defense. Mr Nappen has stated he plans to mount a vigorous defense of his client on the charges.
    Obviously this situation has raised significant concerns and alarms for the over 1 million Citizens of NJ who own firearms and could easily find themselves in a similar situation.
    Pro Second Amendment Social Media sites have engaged in extensive discussions and no small amount of speculation about this unprecedented action on the part of the State and the reasons behind it. Supporters of Mr Kaleda have repeatedly asked for more detailed and specific information. Particularly as to what the charge of allegedly false information was based on, that brought about this action. While understandable, no further information will be released by Mr Kaleda or his Attorney beyond that which is already public knowledge. To do otherwise would serve no purpose than to be a detriment to Mr Kaleda’s possible defense to the charges.
    As I mentioned in my previous article about Mr Kaleda, numerous sources in a position to know such things, have told me that this situation reeks of retribution against Mr Kaleda. Most likely stemming from his embarrassment of Assemblyman Donald Norcross at a Committee Hearing last year. As well as a means to prevent Mr Kaleda from attending & testifying against A2006, the proposal to limit magazine capacity to ten rounds.
    In fact, a high up source, formally, within the ranks of the NJ State Police contacted me and insisted on remaining anonymous for concerns over just such retribution against him. Then told me that the handling of such a paperwork issues, including issuing a Warrant, is going to such incredible lengths that it would have been “Highly Unusual”. Lending further legitimacy to the theory that the charges proffered against Mr Kaleda have significantly more to do with his vocal and outspoken public criticism of NJ Gun Laws & Legislators. Rather than with any legitimate criminal offense warranting such an over the top response.
    While an alarming claim by any means, it is not unheard of in NJ, particularly when it comes to gun laws. Witness the case of veteran, and Sussex County Law Enforcement Officer Thomas Cassidy who after having served with honor & distinction in both the Military & Law Enforcement Community, was railroaded by Anti Gun Officials & Judges.
    Or in the infamous case of Brian Aitken, the Mt Laurel man who was sentenced to seven years in State Prison by an Anti Gun Judge, who refused to instruct the jury on the exemptions to NJ’s ban on the transportation of firearms.
    Or the more recent case of Jersey City resident Keith Pantaleon, the man who was locked up for over a month on fabricated charges, after police entered his apartment with absolutely no authority, warrant or probable cause.
    These case are just the most well known and high profile ones. There are almost certainly hundreds, if not thousands, possibly even tens of thousands, of similar cases as these that no one ever hears of.
    This goes far beyond simply a zealous enforcement of NJ’s ridiculously strict gun laws, and has squarely entered the territory of the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin, where the use of the Police and the law to suppress, imprison and punish people for political reasons, was the norm.
    The persecution of gun owners by the State of NJ, both residents & non residents alike has gone on relatively quietly, behind the scenes and rarely acknowledged outside the State. Except in the most high profile cases, that are impossible to ignore, such as Aitkins & Pantaleon, which gain National attention for their egregious nature and then are forgotten in the 24/7/365 news cycle.
    It is long past time for an unrelenting independent investigation of all three branches of NJ Government. All three have at various times, both actively and passively, conspired to participate in such persecution and cover up.
    Bull Connors, himself, would be hard pressed to match the bigotry and blatant abuse of power on display in NJ when it comes to harassing gun owners. And it must stop!
    Editors Note: Please support James Kaleda’s legal defense fund at

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    Manasquan, NJ --( In an effort to present a full picture to the plight of outspoken NJ Gun law critic James Kaleda, I felt it wise to devote an entire column to the dissection of the New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card application.
    An unwary or naive applicant can easily run afoul of the law, through no real fault of their own and absent any criminal intent or deliberate effort to mislead or provide false information
    The exact nature of the information Mr. Kaleda has been accused of falsifying is unknown to date. But I am of the firm belief that his detainment is retribution for his vocal opposition against proposed New Jersey’s anti gun legislation. Based on experience and numerous reputable sources, as well as the fact that Mr Kaleda previously held a New Jersey Resident Firearms Identification Card. In addition Mr. Kaleda successfully purchased numerous firearms when he was a New Jersey resident.
    An applicant, through no real fault of their own, when completing the New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card forms, can be caught in this clerical trap. That is what James Kaleda has been charged with by the NJ State Police, providing “false information” on a Non Resident Firearms ID Card Application. A “crime” that is a Third Degree Felony under NJ Law. Punishable by up to five years in State Prison!
    That is right, the openly institutionalized Anti Gun Bigotry that is practiced in NJ is so over the top that an otherwise innocent citizen, having absolutely no prior record of any kind, could face incarceration in state prison if found guilty of a simple clerical error.
    As more people become aware of what has happened to Mr Kaleda, I have been deluged with reports from other persons around the state concerning similar injustice. But I have yet to discover another New Jersey resident pursued to the lengths that Mr Kaleda has been pursued by the New Jersey State Police. That is not to say those cases don’t exist, merely that I have not heard about them yet.
    I seen random reports of New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card applicants being advised that one or more of their answers to the ten specific questions asked on the Firearms Purchaser Identification card application were “wrong” ( also known as false). The applicants were permitted to come in and make the necessary correction with no reprisals. Other applicants reported having their New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card application denied, forcing the applicant to appeal that denial to the County Superior Court and having the denial overturned. I have found no other instance where the New Jersey State Police has detained an Individual Firearms Purchaser Identification card applicant for a clerical error.
    There are any number of potential explanations for why some mistakes on the FID card Card application are handled simply by allowing the applicant the opportunity to change their answer(s), as opposed to treating them like a hardened criminal involved in a deliberate effort to deceive.
    Things as unpredictable as the personal views, opinions or biases of the Officer who accepts the completed paperwork. To the Officer that actually conducts the formal background check and review of the application at the local or State level as the case may be. To an Officer at the State Police Firearms Investigation Unit, or the local Chief of Police who signs off and approves the ID Card, even the Prosecutor in the town/municipality where the applicant lives. All have the discretionary authority as to how to handle clerical errors on the application.
    Friendly with the local Chief or politically connected or powerful? Chances are 9 times out of 10 you will be offered the opportunity to make changes with no repercussions or simply have your application denied without being referred for charges.
    The case of Camden City Councilman Curtis Jenkins is a perfect illustration of this in practice. Curtis is quoted in the linked article as saying he was “unaware that he was required to report a non violent offense” on his Firearms Purchaser Identification card application. As far as I can determine, Curtis was never charged with a criminal offense of “providing false information” and his Firearms Purchaser Identification card Card and related paperwork and pistol purchase permits were quietly revoked and turned over with no further action.
    Does Curtis’ excuse make him any less guilty of the offense? The Firearms Purchaser Identification card application is pretty clear on the question of whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime (Question 20). It makes no distinction as to whether or not the crime one was convicted of was violent or non violent, its based on the possible sentence that could have been handed down upon a finding or plea of guilt.
    So, a City Councilman, in one of the most dangerous cities in the country, makes a rather large “mistake” on his Firearms Purchaser Identification card application and it is handled relatively quietly. With the appearance of an investigation as little more then Kabuki theater and not much else. Certainly NOT the issuance of an arrest warrant or charges being filed.
    I’ve been saying for years, in New Jersey, when it comes to the application of gun laws, it is Orwell’s Animal Farm” come to life.
    Which questions on the New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification card application are the most problematic and likely to ensnare the unwitting? I will raise the most troublesome ones and provide examples of how they can trap people in no particular order:
    Question #17 States: “Are you subjected to any Court Order pursuant to Domestic Violence? “
    Given the fact that the application is a type of Background Check Form asking repeatedly about criminal offenses and other disqualifying incidents in ones background, it is quite understandable how someone could innocently and naively answer this question wrong.
    I have heard from people that it has happened to. Naturally, if you haven’t been accused, committed or been found guilty of a crime related to Domestic Violence, an applicants natural instinct is to answer NO.
    However, I have been made aware of instances where even the (victim) of Domestic Violence was advised that this was considered incorrect to answer NO and would be “providing false information”. And, if those in power wanted to, could be used as evidence against them. Technically that is accurate. As even a victim who files for and receives a Temporary Restraining Order or Final Restraining Order is in fact then “subject to any Court Order pursuant to Domestic Violence”. Its also true that a space is offered on the form to explain in more detail beyond just checking the box. But few if any reasonable people, as the victims of Domestic Violence, filling out the application for themselves, would rationally consider answering that question in the affirmative. The usually safe assumption , given the subject matter and previous questions is that the question refers to someone being the (accused).
    Question #21 asks: Do you suffer from a physical defect or disease ? And the follow up #22, elaborates . ” If answer to question #21 is yes, does this make it unsafe to handle firearms ? If not, explain.
    How this question manages to survive its potential use for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act is a mystery. And there have in fact been cases where an applicant was denied as a result of some illness or handicapped status and then had to go to the incredible and costly lengths of suing the State to have the rejection overturned. Not to mention the vagueness of the question itself? What is type of suffering and to what level? What qualifies as a physical defect?
    Question #26 wants to know: “Have you ever been tended, treated or observed by any Doctor or psychiatrist, or at any hospital or mental institution, on in inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition? “
    Clearly this question can be the undoing of any number of people for completely innocent reasons, and expose them to the possibility of being charged with a crime.
    If you have gone through a messy separation, divorce or other significant life event and needed someone to talk things out, is the correct answer yes or no?
    If you are a cop that has been involved in a shooting and troubled by it, or a member of Fire Rescue that has seen a particularly gruesome scene and you see a “Crisis Counselor” in the aftermath of the incident , either individually or as part of a group does that count as being “tended or treated for any mental or psychiatric condition”?
    What about our noble and heroic Veterans, having seen and survived the unimaginable horrors of War and they speak to someone, even a single time, about PTSD is the correct answer yes or no?
    Trying to quit smoking and your general practitioner Doctor prescribes one of several “Anti Depressants” that are often effective at helping to quit? You are now by most anyone’s definition being “treated by a Doctor” and taking a prescribed drug that is often used in the treatment of “mental conditions“, even if that is not the case for you.
    Something as simple as Postpartum Depression could trigger exposure to a charge of ”providing false information”
    What if, as a teenager, you are at odds with your parents who insist on having you evaluated? Fast forward twenty years, the incident long forgotten. You have a happy and stable life, your own home, a good job, you’ve even patched things up with Mom and Dad? You apply for a NJ Firearms ID Card and check “no” . Then you are told that is not true and you provided “false information”? Yes it has happened.
    What about having the same name or other identifying information as an actual criminal? You guessed it, your application is flagged and you are told you “provided false information“.
    Can examples such as these be resolved without having charges filed? Yes they can, but as I pointed out at the beginning of the article, depending on the completely unpredictable nature of the Officials involved in the processing of the paperwork. One applicant might be offered a chance to correct the clerical error. Or you may have to appeal to the County Superior Court. Or you may have charges filed against you and having to defend yourself as in the case of James Kaleda.
    At the risk of violating Goodwins Law, I will point out there are at least two indisputable examples of the practice of those deemed “mentally unfit” or “undesirable” or political enemies being forcibly disarmed and persecuted by their respective Governments. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, both documented socialist regimes.
    And finally, there is Question #28: “Are you presently, or have you ever been a member of any organization which advocates or approves the commission of acts of force and violence, either to overthrow the Government of the United States or of this State, or which seeks to deny others their rights under the Constitution of either the United States or the State of New Jersey? If yes, list name and address of organization(s)”
    It is the height of irony that a significant number of people in all three branches of Government in NJ would be forced to answer Yes to this question. For they regularly draft, enact, and enforce laws whose sole purpose is intentionally designed to deprive Citizens of their Second Amendment Rights!
    Authors Note: Although the copy of the FID Card app attached to this article is for a NJ Resident FID Card, and Mr Kaleda has been charged with “falsifying information” on the NON Resident version of the application, there is little if any difference between the two applications and any that may exist are so minor as to be irrelevant for the purposes of this column.

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