On October 14, Breitbart News reported on the story of media consultant Brian Aitken, who was arrested, tried, and imprisoned for having locked, unloaded, and legally-purchased handguns in the trunk of his car while moving to a new residence in New Jersey so he could be close to his son.
Later on the 14th, Aitken spoke with Breitbart News about his ordeal, explaining how the 2009 arrest came about and how it took the most precious person in his life from him: his son.
When we asked Aitken to explain how the arrest itself came about. “Back in 2009 I had just moved from Colorado to New Jersey to be closer to my son during a divorce: I had been living at my parents house for a few days and was planning to move to Hoboken. I called the New Jersey State Police and asked them how to transport my firearms and I did exactly what they told me to do.”
“While I was driving to Hoboken I received a call from the Mount Laurel Police Department. They told me my mom had placed an ‘abandoned 911 call’ and they were worried I was the victim of domestic violence,” he continued. “They wanted me to return home to ‘check me for bruises.’ I told them I was never assaulted and that my mother was probably the most peaceful woman on the planet.”
“Their entire approach struck me as disingenuous and odd,” Aitken recalled. “He then said he wanted to make sure I wasn’t suicidal. I told him I wasn’t. I asked if I was legally obligated to return and the officer said no. We hung up and I kept driving north.”
“A minute later the officer called back and told me he had issued a state wide General Alert and that all police were on the lookout for me,” Aitken said. “Even though I wasn’t a suspect in a crime he told me I would be taken in and my car impounded if I didn’t return immediately. Under threat of arrest, I returned.”
“Things didn’t get much better when I got back,” Aitken explained. “My car was packed from floor to ceiling and they wanted to search it, again without probable cause. When I pushed back on them about requiring a warrant they threatened me with being sent to a psychiatric hospital for 72 hours if I didn’t consent to the search.”
“They told me that they could force the hospital to take me and as part of the process would impound my car and take an inventory of my cars possessions–effectively searching my car without having to go through a judge for a warrant. I wanted to do the right thing. I didn’t want to create any unnecessary hardship for myself or my family.” Aitken stressed: “I consented under duress. I regret that decision every day.”
Aitken explained how the ordeal lead to him being barred from seeing his son: “A year before I was arrested Governor Jon Corzine (D) amended the Graves Act and changed possession of a firearm from a Fourth Degree Felony to a Second Degree Felony. In the eyes of the law, possessing a firearm was the same as using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime–even if that firearm was legally owned.”
“After I was indicted of a victimless and violentless charge, with no prior criminal record, a family judge interpreted the charge to mean that I was a violent criminal with access to firearms and that fathers who own guns pose a threat to their children,” he stated. “He imposed restrictions on my custody that in four years I have been unable to meet.”
The saga continues for Aitken. Although Governor Chris Christie (R) commuted Aitken’s sentence after he had served four months of a seven year sentence, he is still labeled a felon and therefore cannot own a gun, cannot vote, and cannot travel internationally (his passport was revoked for a felony conviction). More importantly, he is still unable to see his son–the very person he was moving to New Jersey to see.
Photo source: Vice.com
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.