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“A Lititz man visiting a New Jersey nuclear power plant on business last week had a loaded handgun and hollow-point bullets when he drove through the plant’s front gate,” reports. “New Jersey state law prohibits entry to nuclear plants with a weapon.” It also bans hollow-point bullets—unless you’re driving directly to a gun range. Yup you heard right: the Garden State allows civilians to load their weapon with hollow-point bullets as long as the gun is at home, at the range or in transit between the two. Why shouldn’t a NJ gun owner with a legal concealed carry permit be able to holster hollow-point bullets? I have no idea. It’s a stupid law. But that doesn’t excuse Mr. Charles Vance from failing to obey its provisions . . .

Rest assured that Mr. Vance was not a terrorist. A spokeswoman at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant told the paper that Vance “was an expected visitor.” Even so, the laws about bringing a handgun into a nuclear power plant are clear (there are posted signs at the gate for the chronically uninformed). As are the regulations about the necessity to renew your handgun permit, which Mr. Vance also managed to forget.

You don’t need me to tell you that the majority of gun regulations are pointless and, worse, endlessly frustrating. For example, I can’t shoot my gun at a Massachusetts gun range (or anywhere else in the state) without a non-resident license to carry (LTC). I can’t get an MA LTC unless I’ve passed an Massachusetts-approved LTC class (check) and possess a Rhode Island-based concealed carry permit (no check).

I can’t get an RI concealed carry permit (yet) because the Providence Police have never, I repeat never issued one. Only now are the Providence po-po creating procedures to process my application (120 days plus and counting).

Meanwhile, I can drive through Massachusetts with a gun unloaded and stored in a locked container separate from my ammo. And I can go to a gun range with it IF I’m going to a competition. (“Hey Ralph, let’s have a competition.”) Even then, I’m not allowed to schlep my Springfield XD-M; the 19-round weapon falls afoul of the Bay State’s high-capacity magazine ban.

So what’s a responsible gun owner to do? Know the law. Obey the law.

As far as we know, Charles Vance was not a terrorist. As far as I know, neither am I. Charles Vance may believe that a gun license should be for life, with no annual fees. I certainly believe I have a constitutional right to carry a firearm on my person. And yet we are both obliged to know and observe local, state and federal gun laws. If we don’t like them, we can change them. Period.

Actually, make that a semi-colon. You could argue that a responsible gun owner’s highest responsibility is self-defense. The requirement to preserve and protect their own life. And the lives of their loved ones. And, perhaps, the lives of innocent people. Some believe that this self-defense mandate comes from no less an authority than God.

Those that do may perceive a radical disconnect between God’s will and that of the politicians who create gun laws, especially those firearms regulations which [they believe] put them and/or their loved ones in harm’s way. How can I lock up all my guns (in accordance with Massachusetts law) and still protect my family at night? Why do I need a better reason than self-protection to legally carry a gun?

In these sorts of cases, many gun owners simply disobey the law. They figure the risk of getting caught is worth the advantages of contravening local, state or federal firearms regulations.

It’s not for me to pass judgement on people who engage in this form of civil disobedience. All I can say is this: lobby for change. And if you’re caught, put your hands up. A responsible gun owner takes responsibility for his or her actions regrading firearms. In all cases.

As for Mr. Vance, .32 caliber? Really?

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  1. While I disagree with the NJ laws / regulations, and would largely come down on the side of Mr. Vance’s right to personal security .. that’s not the issue.

    Rob, you’re absolutely right. Know the law, and obey the law. If you are going to break the law, simply stand ready to accept the consequences.

    It’s not that hard, really…

  2. [Insert obligatory internet gun joke/condescending comment about the hypocritical nature of using self-defense as a justification for breaking gun laws and then breaking them with a .32]

  3. Hollow points are evil. According to the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan, hollow points are designed to “rip your guts out.” Oooooooo. Just thinking about hollow points makes me feel all queasy. Which is exactly the way I feel when I think about New Joisey.

  4. All the crap he’s going to go through, and with a .32 to boot…. Kinda like getting a reckless driving ticket on a moped.

  5. Examples like the ones given suddenly make the gun laws in WI and IL look a whole lot better. (The terrible place known as “Chicago” notwithstanding.) Yeah, there’s no concealed carry (yet), but at least you can transport a friggin’ unloaded gun in your trunk. And, in WI, you can open carry and do pretty much whatever you want without a permit.

  6. You guys just had to remind me that I live here, didn’t you? But, as Fargo said you need to follow the law. If you don’t than your a criminal with a gun (at least that’s how THEY will see it). The gun grabbers just in case.

  7. RF you need to go to the AG to process your application quicker. I don’t know of any dept. that will directly issue a permit. They don’t want to be held accountable, so they prefer that you go directly to the AG. Then you better be in a business that deals with a lot of cash or expensive items in order to show need. They don’t want to hear about protecting you life or family because that’s why we have a police dept. LMAO Good luck.

  8. Through no fault of my own, I wound up in NJ with my gun collection from Fla. I checked the law concerning my Romanian so called “assault weapon” and couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I asked a neighbor that was a certified NJ state gun safety officer (he showed his ID) attached to the state police. He assured me it was legal in NJ. He gave me bad info and I was arrested when I put a photo of it on face book. They seized my entire collection, charged me with a bunch of crimes, transporting, importing into NJ, possession etc. This state’s laws are ridiculous! Hollow points are called “cop killers” and are illegal because (this is really what a cop told me) they can pierce bullet proof vest. Clearly there is a serious problem with the laws in this state when the cops and “certified” officers don’t have a clue, when it comes to fire arms laws!

  9. To deliberately break a bad law is an honorable act of civil disobedience and as such should be applauded not shown disdain. The founding farther of this nation broke the bad gun laws of the day. Rosa Parks Thoreau et al broke bad laws but here the author throws gun owners who break bad laws under the bus by implying that the only responsible way to change law is to obey it and complain about it. Complaining to politicians who ignore their sworn oath of office is futile. If more people broke bad laws and more juries nullified bad laws we would not have to complain about them because we would not have any bad laws to complain about.


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