Another gun pardon from Christie: Marine brought 9mm into NJ
Gov. Chris Christie has issued his sixth gun pardon of the year — this latest for a Marine recruiter who'd brought a handgun and bullets into New Jersey while visiting family.
Christie on Wednesday pardoned Joshua Velez, a sergeant in the Marine Corps from Daves, Mass., according to the governor's office. Velez is a recruiter out of offices in Boston and New Hampshire, Christie's office said.
During the 2015 Labor Day weekend, Velez was in New Jersey visiting his brother, who lives in North Bergen, the office said. Velez drove a group to a restaurant for dinner and was stopped for failure to use a turn signal on the ride back, Christie's office said.
During the traffic stop, the police office discovered Velez's unloaded Ruger 9mm handgun, Christie's office said. It said Velez had inadvertently brought the gun to New Jersey in the locked glove compartment of his truck.
Velez lawfully purchased the gun and was licensed to carry it in Massachusetts, Christie's office said. It said he cooperated with police and identified the location of his carry license and ammunition, which were stored separately in the vehicle, the office said.
Velez was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of hollow point bullets.
Christie promised at a campaign stop in August that he'd pardon out-of-state residents who got tripped up by New Jersey's particularly strict gun control measures.
The pardon comes the same week a commission Christie created recommended a loosening of the state's strict gun control rules — to make permitting processes more uniform, and to better define the "justifiable need" criteria used to issue rare concealed carry permits.
The recommendations were met with a mixed response from gun right supporters. The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs — the local NRA affiliate — urged its members to call Christie’s office and thank him.
But activists in the New Jersey Second Amendment Society say they’re “appalled and dumbfounded at the fact that any true supporters of the Second Amendment are reacting to this recent report with celebration,” saying the changes would have no real effect but would give legal cover against challenges to the "justifiable need" rule.
Earlier this month, Christie told New Jersey 101.5's Eric Scott during "Ask The Governor" he didn't believe an executive order would be the best way to loosen New Jersey's concealed carry requirement, although a petition floating the idea got more than 16,000 supporters.