Christie’s 8th gun pardon: Army Ranger who left legal handgun in hotel
TRENTON — A U.S. Army Ranger from Virginia will be celebrating the Fourth of July with his freedom after Gov. Chris Christie on Friday pardoned him from gun charges still pending from 2014.
Capt. Robert Alan White, 36, was arrested Dec. 20 of that year after accidentally leaving behind his gun in a Bergen County hotel room.
This marks the eighth gun-related pardon signed by Christie. Last year, while he was still seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Christie made a point to pardon out-of-state residents who had run afoul of the Garden State’s strict gun laws.
White had been driving to New Hampshire and decided to stay for a night in New Jersey. He secured his legally owned and unloaded gun in the hotel room.
White’s attorney said he called the hotel to inform staff that he had left behind some belongings. When he returned, police arrested him and charged him with unlawful possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of hollow-nose bullets.
“Capt. White is relieved and he’d like to thank the governor for his compassion in approving his petition for executive clemency and thank the governor’s staff for their courtesy during their meticulous investigation of the petition,” attorney Frank Pisano said Friday.
Last year Christie pardoned six people from gun-related charges:
U.S. Marine Sgt. Joshua Velez, of Massachusetts, had been arrested during a traffic stop in North Bergen. He was carrying an unloaded Ruger 9MM handgun in his glove compartment.
Pennsylvania resident Todd Doering was arrested in 2010 for carrying a Glock .22-caliber handgun in Gloucester County.
Brian Lee Fletcher, a North Carolina resident who was performing emergency Sandy-related work in New Jersey, was arrested after he told a cop in Mercer County that he had a gun in his vehicle.
Shaneen Allen from Philadelphia was arrested during a traffic stop in Atlantic County after telling a cop about her gun.
Florida resident Elizabeth Jane Griffith was arrested after she tried to get on a ferry in Jersey City with her gun.
Christie also pardoned Steffon Josey-Davis, a North Brunswick man who told a cop on a traffic stop about his legally owned gun in the car.
New Jersey law mandates that legally owned guns be secured in a fastened case or gunbox and be kept in the vehicle's trunk. Gun owners need carry permits in order to keep a gun on them.
People convicted of illegal gun possession in New Jersey face a mandatory minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison.
A provision of the state's gun laws — that gun owners demonstrate justifiable need when applying for a carry permit — is being challenged once again in federal court. Last month, retired EMT Israel Albert Almeida and Defense Department employee Michael Tumminelli, both state residents, filed a Second Amendment lawsuit in hopes of correcting the law's vague definition of such a need, which provides local police departments and Superior Court judges wide discretion in rejecting applications.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.