Camden, New Jersey, one of the true garden spots of the Garden State, is a tough place. The south Jersey town just across the Delaware River from the City of Brotherly Love is known far and wide for its operatic levels of corruption in pretty much every aspect of public life. So when news came that Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson (above) issued a gun permit to a city councilman who also happened to be a convicted criminal, it was probably difficult to find anyone who was terribly surprised. But Thomson is claiming he’s the victim in this sordid tale…

As philly.com reports, Thomson, who apparently has the same haberdasher as Augusto Pinochet, says he was duped.

In July, Thomson approved a handgun-purchase permit and a firearms-purchaser identification card, which confers permission to purchase rifles and shotguns, for Councilman Curtis Jenkins.

Jenkins had not disclosed on his application that he pleaded guilty in 1982 to welfare fraud, a conviction that made him ineligible for the permits under state law. According to police sources, that conviction surfaced on a required criminal background check.

That would be the federal NICS background check.

Under state law, Thomson has sole responsibility for approving gun permits for qualified Camden residents. Background checks are performed by members of the Police Department, and the results are given to him to review.

Guess the locals missed Jenkins’ conviction when they ran their background check. Somehow. Thomson has written a letter to the Camden County Prosecutor asking that Councilman Jenkins’ application be investigated.

In addition to investigating “the sources of the documentation that was relied upon in approving [Jenkins’] application,” Thomson’s letter called upon the Prosecutor’s Office to look into how details of the councilman’s gun-permit application became public.

Thomson said the leak was an apparent violation of state confidentiality rules surrounding firearms applications and background checks.

You can see how this was most likely a simple oversight on the part of Councilman Jenkins who plead guilty to welfare fraud in 1982.

The councilman said he was told by the Prosecutor’s Office that he should have disclosed his fraud conviction on the May 19 application. He said he was unaware that he was required to report a conviction for a nonviolent offense.

Enquiring minds might wonder why the good people of Camden elected a welfare cheat to represent them. Maybe he neglected to mention that during the campaign, too. But that’s neither here nor there.

This obviously could have happened to anyone. How could a busy public official be expected to know all the laws involved in a complicated transaction such a purchasing a gun? And we’re sure any run-of-the-mill Garden Stater who neglected to mention a conviction on a gun app would receive similar treatment.

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20 Responses to Business (Corruption) As Usual In Camden, NJ

    • Had similar thoughts – but, Man!, that’s one snazzy-lookin’ lid the Chief’s sportin’ there! Goes well with the dead gopher eyes….

  1. Getting a conceal carry permit in NJ, is next to impossible. Just see the 2a lawsuits in the system.

    Unless of course, your connected. I’d be interested to know where this councilman publicy stands on NJ’s gun control laws and how he has voted.

    • I was told that until recently even retired cops could not get a carry permit here. I sure hope that national reciprocity act passes. Hello Utah out of state permit!

  2. And nobody is mentioning how unconstitutional it may be to strip someone of the right to bear arms (and as such, the basic human right to defend one’s self) for a welfare fraud conviction that took place nearly 30 years prior?

    I am ALL FOR criminals not having firearms, but that doesn’t mean we should define “criminal” as anyone who has ever broken any law, ever.

      • I’m cool with the TTAG party line. I was speaking to the general media not knowing the difference between a violent felony last month and a minor financial crime committed 30 years ago.

        Also, anyone who would choose to make a Nazi pattern hat uniform wear for a US civilian police force needs to have their credibility and decision making abilities questioned, severely.

  3. There should be a law that precludes politicians and their bodyguards from having a permit if “ordinary” citizens can’t get one.

  4. Nice hat. What’s with the three stars? It always amuses me when I see these civilians pretending like they’re generals, and a lieutenant general at that.

    Note the cold, steely, piercing, and dare I say, Aryan gaze. The tight jaw, the pursed lips, the un-naturally drooping shoulders. Now there’s a man who means business. Perhaps he’s passing a stone.

  5. This article does NOT involve any kind of “carry” permit. Local police chiefs lack the authority to issue such permits. That is a state function.
    This being the Democratic People’s Republic of New Jersey, a police-issued permit is required to possess any firearm. This FOID (firearms owner’s identification) card is also required to purchase any rifle or shotgun.
    A separate handgun-purchase permit is required for each handgun purchase. Local police chiefs or the state police may issue these permits.
    The entire ridiculous system is facing legal challenges.
    My hat is off to Scott Thomson, whose appearance perfectly captures the police state mentality so common here.

    • NJ has an FPID system, not an FOID system. The FPID is only required to purchase firearms in NJ; it has nothing to do with possession.

      The FPID (Firearm Purchasers Identification card) “permits” you to purchase long guns (it does not bypass NICS; that still is done at the point of sale), purchase handgun ammunition, and to apply for HPP (Handgun Purchase Permits). An HPP “permits” you to purchase one handgun (it does not bypass NICS; that is still done at the point of sale).

      So for those keeping score: To buy a handgun in NJ, you need to undergo a background check (along with providing 2 character references and a mental health record check) to get a permit [FPID] to undergo a background check (along with providing 2 character references and a mental health record check) to get a permit [HPP] to undergo a background check when you actually buy the gun [NICS].

      This article demonstrates the absurdity of having the FPID and HPP requirements, since ultimately it was the NICS check that halted the sale. NJ needs to get with the times, and eliminate these redundant and unconstitutional steps to purchasing firearms.

  6. But, but, but, how will we keep scary people who have never been convicted of anything from buying a GUN? They might just follow the law and walk into a store, pass a background check and just by one without anybody important giving them permission.

  7. We’re getting a little off track here. Ok, the law is obviously too restrictive, the guy committed a nonviolent crime over 20 years ago. The real point of this story is that the councilman should have been denied, by law, by the chief, but somehow this one slipped through the cracks..,
    Interesting, was this an illegal political favor? If you read the original article, the chief is more concerned about the leak than he is about breaking NJ law. Arrogant!

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