Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Saturday, March 06, 2004

I'm Conflicted on This One

County may end appeal against ex-cop

The Somerset County
(N.J.) Prosecutor's Office may withdraw its appeal of a decision to drop assault weapons charges against a former Far Hills police officer.

Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest confirmed Friday he was considering a request from the state Attorney General's Office to drop the fight against a judge's ruling that Ken Moose Jr. legally possessed an assault weapon.

"We're considering this as an option for resolution," Forrest said.

Moose was charged with possession of an assault weapon in October 2002, two months after he was suspended from the Far Hills Police Department because of questions about his mental fitness for duty. As part of his suspension, he turned over all his weapons -- including a World War II-era M-1 carbine assault rifle, which is listed in New Jersey's assault weapons ban.

Moose and his attorney argued he was allowed to possess the gun under a loophole in the law that allowed municipal or county police officers to have them "at all times while in the state of New Jersey."
Here is where I'm conflicted. The cops get "special dispensation" in these laws instead of being treated as civilians like the rest of us. And they are civilians like the rest of us, not being under the rules of military justice. I've repeated it again and again, but Robert Peel's Nine Principles spell this out:
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Yet in New Jersey and everywhere else they have special rights and privileges denied to those of us who don't wear a badge and draw a government paycheck.

But this guy followed the rules. When suspended, he turned in the weapon that was denied to him as a regular joe like the rest of us, only to be prosecuted for having it in the first place.
But Matthew Murphy, assistant Somerset County prosecutor, argued in court papers the Legislature never intended for the law to apply to the private possession of those weapons by police officers in their home. He said to rule differently would create a "secret society" of police officers with otherwise illegal weapons that aren't registered or regulated.
Seems the Prosecutor and I see things similarly, but in this case he's completely wrong - the law did indeed apply to the private possession of these weapons. That's what people like me object to. When Silveira v. Lockyer was first argued before the 9th Circus Circuit one argument was that the Roberti-Roos "Assault Weapon Ban" did exactly the same thing - made police officers a "secret society" allowed to have these supposed horrible weapons of destruction without registration or regulation. While the Court (unsurprisingly) upheld the majority of the law - they agreed and struck the police exemption. New Jersey hasn't had a similar challenge, and the courts there have (in this case) decided that officer Moose was within the law:
But Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman disagreed, saying the law clearly exempted municipal police officers. He welcomed review of his ruling by both the appeals court and the Legislature, which this year will consider whether to close the loophole.
There's always a "next step" in gun control legislation. Another "loophole" to be filled, another restriction to be "tightened."

"This confirms that the indictment never should have been brought, and that the appeal would not have been successful if the judges had been allowed to make a decision," Moose's attorney Brian Cige said Friday.

Cige said he hoped dropping the appeal would help Moose return to law enforcement.

Moose said he would like nothing better than to find another job as a police officer. But he remained angry at the entire process.

"What do I do to rebuild my life once politics took it away?" he asked.
Welcome to the world of us mere "civilians," Mr. Moose. Ask that question of Joseph Pelleteri who lost his livelihood and his right to arms over a Marlin Model 60 .22 caliber rifle he had never even shot.

You'll excuse me if my sympathy for your particular plight is small to non-existant.

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