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Old April 7, 2011, 10:42 AM   #26
MLeake
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FOPA...

... As I understand it, would only apply in NJ if one were only transiting NJ. The stop to visit with the OP's parents would take FOPA out of the equation.
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Old April 7, 2011, 11:08 AM   #27
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... As I understand it, would only apply in NJ if one were only transiting NJ. The stop to visit with the OP's parents would take FOPA out of the equation.
+1. The problem with the FOPA is that it only applies when one is actually traveling. If you stop to visit someone, you have reached a destination, and have therefore ceased to travel.
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Old April 7, 2011, 11:40 AM   #28
maestro pistolero
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+1. The problem with the FOPA is that it only applies when one is actually traveling. If you stop to visit someone, you have reached a destination, and have therefore ceased to travel.
Correct.
Quote:
... As I understand it, would only apply in NJ if one were only transiting NJ. The stop to visit with the OP's parents would take FOPA out of the equation.
And correct.
Quote:
Federal law doesn't amount to a hill of beans if you take possession of the firearms while in New Jersey without the requsite FOID and registration. Without jumping through the proper legal hoops with NJ before you take possession of the firearms (locked hard-sided case or not) you would be in violation of NJ law. Period.
FOPA protects travel THROUGH states, yes even NJ, provided the weapons are transported locked and unloaded, FROM a place they may be legally possessed, TO a place they may be legally possessed with no unnecessary stops.

I have no doubt that NJ LE would arrest regardless of strict adherence to the FOPA. My point is that, in my scenario, they would be doing it in violation of federal law and that it would be indefensible for them in federal court. Showing malice and flagrant disregard for federal law, they would be subject to money damages, as well as injunctive relief.

Quote:
The only protection the FOPA gives you in this scenario is if you're flying from a state where you're legal to possess the firearms (for instance, Vermont), have a layover in New Jersey (where you do not take possession of the firearms, and arrive at your destination where you are legal to possess said firearms (for instance, Georgia). The moment you stop in NJ and take possession, they will arrest you.
The bolded part is not completely accurate. You may also drive through any state under strict compliance and adherence to the terms of the FOPA. The state would lose that battle in federal court and damages would be awarded.

Last edited by maestro pistolero; April 7, 2011 at 01:01 PM.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:21 PM   #29
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I would think that FOPA would cover the OP if he were driving directly to Newark and checking his firearms. In that case, an arrest might happen, but should be overturned, etc.

The OP's problem is that he's stated he'll be visiting NJ. If he got busted at Newark, but LE could establish he had been at his parents' house in NJ, the OP would be up the creek, as I understand it.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:23 PM   #30
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"I would think that FOPA would cover the OP if he were driving directly to Newark and checking his firearms. In that case, an arrest might happen, but should be overturned, etc."

He is not allowed to posses the weapon in NJ under NJ law.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:29 PM   #31
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Right. And the whole point of the section of the FOPA that covers travel is to federally trump state law in the limited, narrow context of travel directly through restrictive states.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:33 PM   #32
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Actually they can even make the argument that driving through NJ to Newark airport to fly out constitutes a destination in the state, and therefore illegal. Long story short do NOT bring your guns here. You run the very real risk of getting a short jail stay, and even if they drop the charges you'll spend YEARS with lawyers to get them returned.

NJ has definite issues where gun rights are concerned. NJ is the reason I won't join the NRA. This state is ripe for a huge lawsuit on constitutional grounds yet the NRA has never tried to get it into the courts. When the NRA decides to fight for my rights in NJ instead maintaining the status quo, I'll join.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:34 PM   #33
MLeake
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brickeyee....

... see maestro pistolero's post above

I used FOPA multiple times for PCS transfers. Drove through NJ, NY, etc, all perfectly legally. Verified the law with base legal, looked up FOPA, etc, at those times.

So long as I did not delay my trip in NJ, NY, etc, I was fine.

I made sure to spend my nights in states where firearm possession was legal. However, I'm pretty sure FOPA would provide coverage for a rest stop, without undue delay, if a driver were too fatigued to continue.

What FOPA does NOT cover is any sort of extended stay, period.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:38 PM   #34
maestro pistolero
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Actually they can even make the argument that driving through NJ to Newark airport to fly out constitutes a destination in the state, and therefore illegal.
I would love to hear a state's attorney attempt to make the specious argument in federal court that an airport was a destination in and of itself. Unless perhaps one works at the airport.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:39 PM   #35
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I believe they've tried it, maestro.... as I seem to recall reading about such an arrest having been made at either JFK or LGA. (Guy trying to check his firearm with the airline, in the manner required by the Feds, got arrested for having a gun in NYC.) Whether they succeeded or not with the case, I'm sure they made life unhappy for the gun owner for a while.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:41 PM   #36
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It wouldn't be hard, and it's been done before. They aren't worried about the legalities. They want to make your life a living hell and they want everyone to hear about it to discourage anyone else from doing it, legal or not.


If you have to fly and take a firearm you are a lot better off flying out of phily.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:48 PM   #37
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I believe they've tried it, maestro.... as I seem to recall reading about such an arrest having been made at either JFK or LGA. (Guy trying to check his firearm with the airline, in the manner required by the Feds, got arrested for having a gun in NYC.) Whether they succeeded or not with the case, I'm sure they made life unhappy for the gun owner for a while.
The relative certainty that they would try this makes baiting them for a class action suit child's play.

At the right time, with the right folks, and with proper legal oversight, a carefully orchestrated event could shine the light of day on their shenanigans in a very public and defensible way. At the end of the road, there would be no more wiggle room without contempt being the result.

Once 'carry' is codified as protected outside the home, the basis for such a direct challenge broadens.
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Old April 7, 2011, 01:57 PM   #38
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In NJ the only place you can "carry to", and by carry I mean lock it your trunk unloaded, empty mag, is to the firing range unless you are moving. (and they put a guy in jail for 7 years for having his gun just as I described while moving, until Christie got him out)

NJ technically has concealed carry on the books, but the reality is the average person has ZERO chance to attaining it. I know retired police officers who have had to spend a couple of years waiting to get approved for concealed carry. Unless you're a millionaire with a battalion of lawyers or a security guard for the rich and famous you aren't getting one. PERIOD.
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Old April 7, 2011, 05:08 PM   #39
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Hve we forgotten the original post, or did we not read it?

Quote:
i am driving from where i live in colorado to my parents house in nj to visit before going back to work in alaska. i want to bring my 44 (and hunting rifle)with me as i need it for work. will i encounter problems trying to fly out of newark or if i were to get stopped in nj while in transit to my parents house? the gun is obviously legally purchased by me in CO. if this scenario is foolish whats the best way to get my gun to ak?
He is bringing the his guns TO New Jersey, FOR A VISIT. He is NOT legal to possess the firearms in New Jersey -- AT ALL -- without the requisite paperwork. Therefore, the FOPA does not apply to him AT ALL. A basic prerequisite of the FOPA is that you are traveling from a place where possession of the gun(s) is legal TO a place where possession of the gun(s) is legal. That simply doesn't apply here.

Since that doesn't apply here, FOPA will not apply anywhere along his inbound route. That's generally not going to be a problem in most places along the route, but he WILL be illegal the moment he crosses into New Jersey. Any talk about Federal law trumping state law (FOPA) is irrelevant, because he doesn't meet the criteria to invoke the protection of the Federal law.
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Old April 7, 2011, 05:17 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by MLeake
I believe they've tried it, maestro.... as I seem to recall reading about such an arrest having been made at either JFK or LGA. (Guy trying to check his firearm with the airline, in the manner required by the Feds, got arrested for having a gun in NYC.) Whether they succeeded or not with the case, I'm sure they made life unhappy for the gun owner for a while.
Actually, it was at Newark Airport, although the arrest was made by NYNJ Transit Authority Police, not by NJ State or local police. The gentleman had a missed connection that resulted in his having the claim his luggage and spend the night in an airport hotel. He was arrested the next day when he tried to declare the gun in his luggage for the second leg of his flight.

He spent several DAYS in jail before he was able to make bail. Ultimately, the prosecutor dropped the charges so the case provides no useful court precedent, and the gentleman's suit against the Transit Authority for false arrest was recently dismissed. He wasn't convicted, but I'd guess the incident definitely ruined his day, weekend, month and year.

But this was a VERY different scenario than that proposed by the gentleman who opened this thread. The guy arrested at Newark very much was transiting through New Jersey in "travel" mode. The OP here is coming TO New Jersey specifically for a visit, so NJ is his destination. He is not traveling through on his way to another state where he can legally possess the firearms.
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Old April 7, 2011, 06:18 PM   #41
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One of my hunting buddies is a local retired LEO here in New York. Fastest way to one of our whitetail spots is through Jersey. He wont even DRIVE through NJ with a LONG-ARM.
We go the long way during deer season.
0 tolerance round there.
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Old April 8, 2011, 03:30 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
The bolded part is not completely accurate. You may also drive through any state under strict compliance and adherence to the terms of the FOPA. The state would lose that battle in federal court and damages would be awarded.
Read what I wrote a bit more carefully before you try to call me out...

What I said was: The only protection the FOPA gives you in this scenario is if you're flying from a state where you're legal to possess the firearms...

The scenario which I referenced was the one you provided which only included flight plans with absolutely zero reference to driving anywhere through NJ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
FOPA protects travel THROUGH states, yes even NJ
Yes it does, however if your flight destination is Newark, NJ where you deplane, exit security, and take possession of your checked luggage (firearms in locked case) then you are no longer covered by the FOPA as I understand it. Your flight destination is in NJ, you can't legally possess them in NJ, so by carrying them from the airport terminal in your hand, you have taken possession. The locked case does not matter because you either have the key or combination, so that is not a barrier.

You can't put your mitts on your guns while stopped in NJ and still expect to be covered by FOPA. Locked case ot not, your hands are on your guns. The seperate compartment bit is there for a reason, because you're not FOPA-ccovered to have them in your hands in states where you legally can't....
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Old April 8, 2011, 06:55 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by jgcoastie
Yes it does, however if your flight destination is Newark, NJ where you deplane, exit security, and take possession of your checked luggage (firearms in locked case) then you are no longer covered by the FOPA as I understand it. Your flight destination is in NJ, you can't legally possess them in NJ, so by carrying them from the airport terminal in your hand, you have taken possession. The locked case does not matter because you either have the key or combination, so that is not a barrier.
I am not prepared to volunteer to be the test case, but the fact you plane lands in NJ does not mean your destination is NJ. A trip starts where you last slept, and ends where you will sleep at the end of the trip. Newark is an international airport serving the greater NY metropolitan area. It is the third of three airports in the NY/NJ Port Authority system, along with JFK and LGA.

Many years ago, I flew from and back through Newark on trips to England from Connecticut. On the way out, my destination was a county in the southeast of England. On the way back, my destination was Connecticut. The fact the plan landed at Newark did not mean my trip ended in New Jersey. That would be like saying if I change from I-80 to I-84 at Scranton, my trip ends in Pennsylvania and I begin a new trip when I change highways. Or when I rode a Greyhound from Montana to NYC, the fact I changed buses in Chicago means one trip ended in Chicago and then I began a second trip from Chicago to NYC -- even though I never left the bus terminal and never opened my suitcase.

The locked case is not a barrier when its in your car, either, but the law doesn't say the owner can't be able to open the case. The law only stipulates that the case be locked. You can't make it say more than it says.

Sadly, when the FOPA was drafted the people who wrote it failed to take into account that people get from Point A to Point B by means other than privately-owned automobiles, and the law simply doesn't make clear that the intent of the law extends beyond travel by car. The law needs to be revised, but that should only be undertaken when there's a Republican president and a Republican Congress.
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Old April 8, 2011, 08:53 AM   #44
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Look, we can argue this all day. But the reality is regardless of what any federal law states the NJ police are going to make you wish you hadn't been born. In the END, you may win. But the real question is do you have the time, MONEY, determination, and MONEY to deal with it.

Probably not.
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Old April 8, 2011, 01:19 PM   #45
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Drove through NJ, NY, etc, all perfectly legally.
He is NOT "driving through" he is driving into NJ, then boarding a plane at an NJ airport.

This is a case NOT addressed by FOPA, so NJ will win.

Leave from an airport in PA, fly to NJ, have the gun in checked baggage so you never have possession in NJ, and you will fly right through and be covered.

Drive into NJ, unload at airport to board plane, and they will (and have) arrested people.
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Old April 8, 2011, 01:48 PM   #46
maestro pistolero
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Read what I wrote a bit more carefully before you try to call me out...
Fair enough, in that scenario you would be correct.
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Yes it does, however if your flight destination is Newark, NJ where you deplane, exit security, and take possession of your checked luggage (firearms in locked case) then you are no longer covered by the FOPA as I understand it. Your flight destination is in NJ, you can't legally possess them in NJ, so by carrying them from the airport terminal in your hand, you have taken possession. The locked case does not matter because you either have the key or combination, so that is not a barrier.
I agree with Aguila Blanca, your flight destination is not necessarily your journey destination. FOPA does not distinguish between whatever forms of transportation, or multiple forms of transportation that may be employed to arrive at your final destination, which is what counts.
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Old April 8, 2011, 03:54 PM   #47
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i am driving from where i live in colorado to my parents house in nj to visit before going back to work in alaska.
The moment you stop at your parents house NJ can arrest you.

You have entered the state, are no longer on your journey (you are making a stop at your parents house that is not required for your trip THROUGH NJ).

When you show at the airport to check your gun, they will call the police and you will be arrested.

You will then lose in state court 9repeatedly) and try to appeal teh federal court.

The federal court may even elect to hear your case.

Like the previous case you will then lose and likely be turned down by the SCOTUS.

But hey, if you want to repeat the previous case go for it.
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Old April 8, 2011, 05:41 PM   #48
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I agree that in THIS case the original poster would be illegal and, if caught and arrested, would lose in court. The law is clear -- without a permission slip from the State of New Jersey he cannot possess the guns in NJ. Since possession is not legal in NJ, the FOPA simply does not apply -- AT ALL, not even while he's passing through Nebraska (although there it won't matter).

However, if by "Like the previous case you will then lose and likely be turned down by the SCOTUS.

But hey, if you want to repeat the previous case go for it." you are referring to the gentleman who was arrested at Newark Airport, he did not get convicted. You are leaving out essential facts and creating an incorrect understanding.

He WAS arrested. He DID spend several days in jail before being released on bond. However, he was NOT even tried on the charge. The prosecutor dropped the case, so there was NO trial, and NO conviction. Why did the prosecutor drop the case? Pure speculation, but most likely because he knew that IF he got a conviction, it would be overturned on appeal due to the FOPA, and if it got to an appeal court it would be binding precedent for other cases. By dropping it, he left the police in NJ free to arrest other people on the same bogus charge, since there's no case law extant to tell them they're wrong.

Where the gentleman was turned down by the SCOTUS was his lawsuit against the NYNJ Port Authority seeking damages for false arrest. That was a civil lawsuit with him as plaintiff, not a criminal case with him as defendant. He lost the suit, he lost again on appeal, and when he appealed that to the SCOTUS they declined to accept the case.

Again-- the circumstances were quite different from this case, because he actually WAS in transit through New Jersey. And he was NOT convicted. But what the cops did to him is enough to make people justifiably nervous about relying on the FOPA in New Jersey. Which, I am convinced, is why the prosecutor dropped the charges -- to maintain the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) factor among the populace.
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Old April 8, 2011, 05:57 PM   #49
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By dropping it, he left the police in NJ free to arrest other people on the same bogus charge, since there's no case law extant to tell them they're wrong.
Yes. And those are the circumstances, not the OP's scenario, that inspired my idea in post #21:

Quote:
Here's an idea:

At the right time and with the proper preparation, planning and legal oversight, I would like to see an entire flight booked up by a group properly transporting firearms according to the FOPA.

We could take private coaches from, say, Philadelphia directly to the airport and check in en-masse in Newark for a flight into, say, Pittsburgh and then back through Newark for direct transportation back to PA. Everybody would line up to check in and declare the firearms at once.

Essentially DARE them to arrest the entire passenger list.

The monetary damages and political fallout from documented, malicious, and illegal enforcement activity could be tremendous. If they are unrepentant after they lose, do it again and again until their LE resources are exhausted and they don't have time or money left for anything else.
While this is off the original topic, and not applicable to the OP, it is a potential future means for forcing compliance by NJ with a very controlled, public demonstration of what the FOPA really means.

Aguila Blanca, thanks for helping to clarify things.
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Old April 8, 2011, 08:35 PM   #50
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Do NOT bring a gun to NJ unless you want it confiscated, and yourself arrested. NJ does not recognize the 2nd amendment nor the FOPA act. Remember that an appeals judge made special rules for those travelling in NJ that you have to transfer it to a dealer or the Police and get a NJ permit to get it back. NJ pistol purchase permits are not given to out of state residents. You would not be breaking any law, but you will still spend about a year in prison. DO NOT BRING A GUN INTO NJ unless you want to be arrested, and imprisoned.
Dont like it, but that is the socialist republic of NJ. Not part of the union, and the Constitution doesnt work here.
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