New Jersey is a classic case of a state that makes criminals out of law-abiding gun owners. A recent example illustrates how shall-issue CCW laws protect people against criminal violence as well as criminal charges. Even when lawfully carrying a concealed firearm, local police and prosecutors in the Garden State have arrested and charged residents with gun violations.
The latest example is Roosevelt Twyne, a 25-year-old man with a rare New Jersey CCW permit. He obtained it to legally carry at his job as an armed security guard. While traveling home from work in February, local police in Roselle Park, New Jersey, stopped Twyne for having tinted windows on his car. That usually is double-speak for: “We just wanted to pull you over for no good reason.”
Twyne immediately informed the police officers he is armed, has a permit to carry, was coming home from his shift as a security guard, and his home was a block away. Twyne had done all he could to comply with New Jersey’s convoluted “may-issue” CCW laws. The police cited him for unlawful transportation of a firearm with hollow-point ammunition. In New Jersey, if you are not on your own premises, you do not have the right to possess a firearm.
Apparently, in the view of local police and prosecutors, even if the state issues you a license to carry concealed, you do not have the right to do so while traveling in your car—even when you work as an armed security guard! That goes against state law, which clearly says those who are licensed to carry may do so while driving. Those who do not have CCW permits must unload their firearms, lock them in a box, the trunk, or otherwise secure them. Ammunition must be carried in a separate container and transported in the trunk.
During the traffic stop, Twyne produced his carry permit, firearms license, and fully complied with the police officer. He still wound up under arrest and facing charges. Like the vast majority of lawful CCW holders, Twyne did not escalate the situation and complied with the police, even when the police clearly were wrong. Now, Twyne perfectly is positioned to affirm his legal rights as a U.S. citizen and gunowner in a state notorious for discouraging lawful gun ownership.
Despite all his efforts to comply with state firearms laws and with a fully valid reason due to his employment, Twyne faces criminal gun charges. The charges caused him to lose his job, and he is having trouble finding more work in his field. His attorney cites the “befuddlement of New Jersey gun laws” and says they are “so convoluted and so messed up in terms of trying to do the right thing.”
Twyne’s situation is why many states enacted shall issue CCW laws over the past two decades. The laws streamlined statewide concealed carry processes and overrode more restrictive local laws. Residents like Twyne, took the time to complete firearms training and range qualifications to get his CCW permit. He needed it for his job as a security guard.
Shall issue CCW laws protect people like Twyne against unreasonable searches, seizures, and violations of their Second Amendment rights. Shall issue laws make it possible to carry concealed while driving, working, or just going about your daily routine. New Jersey might pretend it enables CCW permit holders to exercise their rights, but Twyne’s case proves otherwise.
To hear more excellent points on how absurd and ridiculous this case is listen to Colion Noir, a popular gun rights activist, spell it out. Noir makes an excellent point about anti-gunners.