Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seven years in prison for having two legally-purchased firearms? Seriously?

Brian Aitken is sitting in prison tonight, sent there for seven years. His crime? having two guns that he lawfully purchased when he lived in Colorado in his car. Unloaded. In the trunk. Packed away in a box in a duffel bag.

It all began in January of 2009 when Brian, upset over the actions of his ex-wife, expressed his frustration in front of his mother.

"He said something that scared her, things that a guy will only say to his mom, like . . . 'Life's not worth living anymore,' " said Larry Aitken, Brian's father.

Sue Aitken, a trained social worker, decided to play it safe and called police, but she hung up before the 9-1-1 dispatcher could answer. Police traced the call and showed up anyway, and found two handguns in the trunk of Brian's car. And now Brian, her middle child, a graduate student with no prior criminal record, is serving a seven-year prison sentence for weapons charges.

When Mount Laurel police arrived at the Aitkens' home on Jan. 2, 2009, they called Brian - who was driving to Hoboken - and asked him to return to his parents' home because they were worried. When he arrived, the cops checked his Honda Civic and, inside the trunk, in a box stuffed into a duffel bag with clothes, they found two handguns, both locked and unloaded as New Jersey law requires.

Aitken had passed an FBI background check to buy them in Colorado when he lived there, his father said, and had contacted New Jersey State Police and discussed the proper way to transport them.

"He bought them at Bass Pro Shops, for God's sake, not some guy named Tony on the street corner," his father said.

New Jersey and Colorado are on opposite ends of the gun-control spectrum. In Colorado, all he needed was the background check to own the guns.

In the Garden State, Aitken was required to have a purchaser's permit from New Jersey to own the guns and a carry permit to have them in his car.
Now you can argue that Brian was in violation of New Jersey's laws regarding possession of the pistols if you want. If you want to set the US Constitution aside, you can argue that. However no one can convince me that seven years in prison is a fair, just or equitable punishment for a violation this slight.
To sum it up, he bought the guns where it was lawful to do so. He followed all of the laws when he did so. He never threatened anyone with them or tried to sell them to criminals...he just didn't get rid of them when he moved temporarily into New Jersey. Now I'm all about hammering criminals but that's just asinine beyond belief. I'm thinking that it's time to just kick New Jersey right out of the Union.

Free Brian Aitken.

Or to channel Samuel L. Jackson's character Jules from the movie Pulp Fiction, "Free Brian Aitken, motherfucker!"


  1. This one just sucks from the git go... sigh...

  2. Did you read about why the judge was summarily tossed out by Chris Christie? He cleared a cop for sticking his member down the throats of baby cows! Why did he let this guy go? Because he said "there was no way of knowing whether the calves had been "puzzled" or "tormented" by the officer's actions."

  3. I would hazard a guess that we will not see a viral youtube video of Chris Christie making some pithy sound bite about this man's plight.

  4. Holy. Crap. Yet another addition to my already lengthy list of reasons not to move to New Jersey.

  5. When I travel by air to a Bullseye competition, my guns and ammo go in checked baggage after checking to be sure I comply with *both* the airline's and the federal governments requirements. And, I've also checked the destination state's requirements to be sure I'm also in compliance while there.

    But the one "got'cha" in all this would be a diversion to an unexpected airport such as O'Hare or Midway, both in the City of Chicago, or to the Newark NJ airport. If I had to deplane and spend the night before boarding a new flight the next day, I'd be in jeopardy.

    As long as the supreme court waffles on Second Amendment rights of US citizens, those exercising those rights will be at risk from state authorities while traveling.

  6. If the guy was a liberal you would want the sentence to be LONGER.


  7. Not true, Fels.

    If he was a liberal, I'd have cheered his embracing gun ownership as the first step towards assuming some personal responsibility for his own safety instead of insisting that a large, all-powerful government protect him from everything, including his own failure.
    In short, fels, I'd even support your right to own a gun (even though I'm sure that you'd shoot your eye out) and come to your defense if you were unconstitutionally imprisoned for having it.

    THAT is the difference between conservatives like me and bitter little partisan haters such as yourself.

  8. This happened for one reason alone. And that reason is because the prosecution was only interested in a win, not justice.

  9. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Heck, free America from these anti-Constituional jackboots. This man did nothing wrong,and it would be in the best interst of Chris Christi to pardon him.