New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has commuted the sentence of a man sentenced to seven years in prison for transporting guns he owned legally.
27-year-old Brian Aitken was arrested, charged, and convicted in 2009 after his mother called 911 (but hung up), worried that he was distraught over not being able to spend time with his son and was considering suicide. Police eventually traced the call and found Aitken. And when they did, they also found two unloaded handguns in his his trunk, which he owned legally. The guns were there, he says, because he was in the process of moving.
That apparently didn't matter.
“This case is the perfect storm of injustice,” Aitken’s attorney, Evan Nappen, told the Daily Caller last month.
Now it seems Christie agrees. On Monday the governor commuted Aitkens sentence to time already served and ordered him released as soon as it’s “administratively possible.”
The Daily Caller reports:
New Jersey law requires residents who want to transport firearms legally to request a permit from a local law enforcement office and produce a letter stating why it is necessary for them to carry a gun.
Aitken’s attorney argued that his client was innocent of any offense because the firearms were legally purchased (at a Bass Pro Shop), properly stored, and unloaded. And though New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, Aitken’s attorney said his client did not violate any law because he was in the middle of moving residences between two states.
Nonetheless, Aitken was sentenced to seven years in prison in August. His supporters say the judge refused to accept evidence supporting his defense. He was convicted of the same kind of felony a criminal who had bought guns with intent to commit a crime would have faced.
Aitken moved from Colorado, where gun laws are much more reasonable, to New Jersey after separating from his wife in 2008. His original plan was to be closer to his son. Now that seems possible.