When media consultant Brian Aitken moved from Colorado to New Jersey to be closer to his son in 2009, police found legally-purchased, locked, and unloaded handguns in the trunk of his car. Aitken was arrested, imprisoned, and denied the ability to see his son.
Although Aitken regained a small taste of freedom when his 7-year sentence was commuted after 4 months, he has yet to get his life back. He is labeled a felon, which means he cannot own guns, he cannot vote, and he cannot travel internationally since his passport was revoked. Moreover, because of the firearms charges he faced over his legally purchased guns, he is barred from seeing his son.
Writing his own story on Vice.com, Aitken explains what the last three years have been like.
He writes how the judge in the case refused to allow the jury to consider exemptions that would have shown he had broken no laws in possessing locked and unloaded guns because he was moving them to a new residence. ABC News reported this same exemption for a residential move in December 2010.
Aitken writes about how Governor Chris Christie (R) commuted his sentence but also signed S2804 into law, which heightens the penalty future gun owners will face if found in possession of legally purchased guns without possessing a carry permit for the state of New Jersey.
Under S2804, the minimum sentence goes from 36 to 42 months.
Aitken misses his son and he misses his life. He misses walking into Bass Pro Shops and being able to legally purchase a gun as he did in the years prior to moving to New Jersey. He misses being able to even possess a gun for self-defense.
He is currently “petitioning the Supreme Court of the United States to hear his case and overturn his status as a felon so he can once again see his son.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.