BY DAVE WORKMAN – This morning, while most folks in the Puget Sound area were fighting their way through the snow, Bellevue’s Second Amendment Foundation and the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc. filed a federal lawsuit in New Jersey over that state’s “justifiable need” carry permit requirement.
The organizations are joined by six private citizens whose permit applications were arbitrarily turned down on the grounds that none could show a “justifiable need” to carry a firearm for personal protection. Oh, really? One of the plaintiffs is a kidnap victim who still worries about another attempt, another is a part-time sheriff’s deputy, a third carries large amounts of cash in his private business and another is a civilian employee of the FBI in New Jersey who is fearful of attack from a radical Islamic fundamentalist group. That sounds like plenty of justification to this column, but we’re from the wrong side of the Mississippi, where a lot of people wear handguns out of habit, and the right to keep and bear arms isn’t treated like a highly-restricted privilege. Read the ANJRPC news release here.
“If being a kidnap victim, or part-time law enforcement officer, or the potential target of a known radical group does not clearly demonstrate a justifiable need, the defendants need to explain what would. Do citizens need guns to their heads or knives to their throats before the state considers their need to be justified?”—Alan Gottlieb, SAF executive vice president
Defendants in the case are three Superior Court judges, Philip J. Maenza, Morris County; Rudolph A. Filko, Passaic County and Edward A. Jerejian of Bergen County, plus Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the State Police, Hammonton Police Chief Frank Ingemi and New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow, according to a SAF press release. Read the lawsuit document here.
Cavalierly denying citizens the ability and tools of self-defense is an abomination to justice, especially when those responsible are judges and police officials. This is the reason so many states have adopted “shall issue” statutes, taking away this much-abused authority from public officials. New Jersey gun rights activists are cheering SAF and the ANJRPC for the legal action, which they had long awaited.
Perhaps Garden State gun owners really do have something to be thankful for this week when they sit down to turkey dinner.
“The fundamental right to defend yourself does not evaporate when you walk out your front door. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently made it clear that this right belongs to all Americans. This lawsuit will ensure that New Jersey finally stops denying its citizens this basic freedom.”— ANJRPC President Scott Bach
MEANWHILE, several regular readers weighed in with comments about this column’s Friday installment regarding the arrest by federal authorities of a man who allegedly sold firearms to people he knew, or had strong reason to believe, could not legally own guns. The suspect, David Devenny of Olympia, also told one undercover informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that he sold the rifle used in the slaying last year of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton.
Devenny allegedly has been engaged in the business of selling and buying firearms without a federal license. Some people don’t like that, and criticize this writer. If you don’t like the law, change it!
Curiously, Devenny landed on ATF’s radar screen back in 2007 for apparently being the source of several firearms purchases by a Canadian resident at unidentified gun shows. If there was a problem with Devenny that long ago, why did it take ATF this long to act?
Devenny allegedly bought several firearms from a licensed dealer, and every time he filled out a Form 4473, which states clearly: “I further understand that the repetitive purchase of firearms for the purpose of resale for livelihood and profit without a Federal firearms license is a violation of the law.” According to the charging document, Devenny told undercover informants that he made “decent” money buying and selling firearms.
The charging document says that the illicit gun sales occurred at Devenny’s home or at the Southwest Washington fairgrounds gun show in Centralia. None of the questionable sales evidently occurred at the Washington Arms Collectors’ (WAC) gun show in Puyallup.
The transaction between Devenny and (apparently) Christopher Monfort, the suspect in Brenton’s Halloween 2009 murder, was legal because at the time, Monfort had not yet committed a crime and he was an active WAC member who had cleared a background check in order to join, apparently in 2008. Devenny was also a WAC member. At WAC gun shows, only members may conduct firearms transactions.
Following Monfort’s arrest, the WAC Board of Directors suspended his membership. Likewise, the WAC board acted swiftly over the weekend during the Puyallup gun show to suspend Devenny’s membership.
But there is more, and it is disturbing. On several occasions, according to the charging document, Devenny advised undercover informants, who had explained to him that they had either been convicted of felonies or, in one case a domestic violence conviction, that he didn’t want to know about it.
“I really don’t care,” he allegedly stated. “Don’t ask, don’t tell. If I don’t know then there’s nothing wrong with it.”
He also allegedly told one of the informants, “If it comes along that someone catches you and raises hell with you, you don’t know where these (guns) came from, just keep that in mind. I don’t need the SWAT team here at the yard again.”
And on another occasion, when advised that a prospective buyer had been told by a clerk at a gun store to “get a bow and arrow or black powder gun,” Devenny allegedly added, “…or buy it from somebody like me that don’t give a s—t..”
How stupid is that?
Submitted by Dave Workman, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner