On Friday, January 12th, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pardoned Pennsylvania concealed carry license holder Meg Fellenbaum. The move followed Ms. Fellenbaum’s arrest, conviction and sentencing after exercising her natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in the Garden State without a government permission slip. Gun rights groups . . .
in New Jersey and beyond heard of Ms. Fellenbaum’s plight and worked aggressively to fight a clear miscarriage of justice. The New Jersey Second Amendment Society took point. Other combatants and lobbyists — including the National Rifle Association and The Truth About Guns (here, here, and here) — helped spread the word.
In an email to TTAG, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS) highlighted the importance of “alternative media” and motivated gun rights advocates in Ms. Fellenbaum’s pardon:
Needless to say, the mainstream media didn’t want the public to hear Meg’s story. If it were not for NJ2AS members, activists and supporters, Meg would be rotting in prison for New Jersey’s ‘liberal values.’
We spoke to Meg and she personally wants to thank NJ2AS and our supporters for all of their tireless effort to free her against New Jersey’s draconian laws and prosecution!
Here’s the background story, sad as it is, from the good folks at NJ2AS…
LGBTQ Woman Arrested, Denied Lawyer and Feminine Hygiene Products Over Legal Firearms
Our story all begins when Meg Fellenbaum stopped on the side of the road in Warren County, NJ, to text her girlfriend while on her way to their second residence in Hackettstown, NJ. Meg, who is gay, acquired and starting training with firearms following a series of attacks perpetrated against her because she was gay. At the time she had legally owned firearms in the trunk of her car, locked up and unloaded.
Suddenly a NJ State Policeman was tapping at her window to see if she’s okay and why she is stopped on the side of the road. Meg assured him that she was okay and had just stopped to text her girlfriend (because texting and driving is against the law). The officer returned to his patrol vehicle. Unfortunately though, this is where her nightmare began.
Not even a minute later, as she was about to pull back onto the road, the officer was back at her window. The officer said he noticed a single bullet laying on her back seat floor and asked if she was carrying a firearm at the time. She replied “No.” Since she was not carrying a firearm on her at the time, and added that she does have a permit to carry in PA.
The officer then asked to see her PA carry permit, which she produced immediately. The officer informed her that permit had expired in February, which is odd since NJ does not recognize PA carry permits anyway as many other incidents have highlighted. At this point she is asked to step out of the car and when she does is immediately handcuffed and read her Miranda rights.
Confused why this is happening to her, she asks what is going on. The officer replied that she was not under arrest but that she was being handcuffed for her safety. Meg never actually saw the bullet in question that the officers had mentioned or that it was, as the police claimed, a hollow point.
The patrol car door is opened up and clipboard is handed to Meg, with the officers advising her to sign this to consent to a search of her vehicle. After refusing to consent, an officer on scene exclaimed, “Great! Looks like we’re doing this the hard way! Let’s get it towed to the station!” Meg was then driven to the police station, still unaware of what she was being detained for.
After arriving at the station, she was handcuffed to a bench, where she remained for over ten hours being intimidated and interrogated by the police demanding she consent to a search of her vehicle. During this 10 hours Meg suffered multiple panic attacks and during the stress of the event her menstrual cycle began. She requested a tampon from the officers, and just like her requests for her lawyer and phone call, it was denied and told they do not have any at the station.
After many threats, being denied legal counsel and a phone call, the officers then told her that she had screwed up and pissed off the judge and that they were going to get into her car one way or another. She was told that she could “forget [the officers] telling the judge she cooperated with them” and charging her with only the alleged bullet they found in her car.
After fighting through her tears, she asked once again for her phone call home to let her family know what is happening. The officers told her, if she wanted her family to know, they would call them for her. At that point she once again asked for her constitutionally guaranteed right to a lawyer, and was laughed at.
To make matters worse Meg was in jail for a week (where she was finally provided maxi pads), lost income due to not being able to work, and her grandmother, who Meg is her primary caretaker, fell twice since nobody was able to assist her. All of this because she had her legally owned firearms, locked in the trunk of her car per federal transport laws, and allegedly a single round on the back floor of her vehicle.