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.
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.
"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.
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!"