3 Plinkers Charged in New Jersey

I am not going to defend these three gentlemen’s judgment, because if you look at the satellite photo, you will notice they were not exactly shooting in a deserted area.  In Pennsylvania, this would justifiably get you a few misdemeanor charges, from violating a municipal discharge ordinance, disorderly conduct, and maybe if the prosecutor has a real beef with the circumstances, reckless endangerment.

But they are being charged with weapons offenses in New Jersey, particularly unlawful possession of a handgun.  This can be as simple as the kid taking his father’s pistol out to the woods in New Jersey.  It can even be as simple as the owner handing it off to a friend to shoot.  These are felonies, and they will be treated no different than gang members, rapists, or murderers by New Jersey’s criminal justice system, and from this point forward, their young lives will be completely ruined.  With felony records, they will be ineligible for many jobs, will be unable to serve in the military, and have almost no chance of getting their records cleared.  Most definitely they will never legally own a firearm.

I do think shooting a firearm off in a populated area like Cinnaminson shows a severe lack of judgement, and it is rightful for society to criminalize such errors of judgement, but the punishment does not fit the crime here.  This is, at best, a misdemeanor.  This is “reasonable” gun control the Philadelphia media says we should adopt on this side of the river.  No thanks.

10 thoughts on “3 Plinkers Charged in New Jersey”

  1. “you will notice they were not exactly shooting in a deserted area.”

    So? If they had a back stop, they would be as safe or safer then the two LEO’s hunting in the same woods.

  2. I’m pretty sure there isn’t any firearms hunting allowed in that area, so my guess is they were bow hunting. Story doesn’t say whether they used an appropriate backstop, but most suburban municipalities in populated areas have discharge ordinances regardless, just because of the problems with noise, etc, as well as the risks inherent with errant shots. At a well engineered range, these risks and the noise can be mitigated.

  3. Sounds like something else funny is going on. They ran from the police and left the gun.

    So at the least the knew/thought they were doing something very wrong. Something wrong enough to give up the gun to get out of.

  4. They probably knew that discharging a firearm in a populated area was asking for trouble. That they were looking at a multi-year felony? Roughly equivalent to robbing a liquor store?

  5. Sebastian:

    I am familiar with this wooded area where these three people are accused of shooting this handgun. It is rather dense and vast there as far as wooded areas go, enough so that if a stray round had missed whatever their choice of target was, the brush or the trees would have stopped it. If they had fired off rounds straight up into the sky or something foolhardy like that, then it would be a different story of course, but even then, there are no occupied dwellings all that close to the areas right alongside the river’s edge.

    What’s ironic is that the Philadelphia Police themselves have their own firearms range almost directly across the river from this wooded area in question. I can even recall reading a newspaper story over 20 years ago about the local police making a stink over apparent stray rounds from that range being found along the riverbank somewhere in this very same vicinity.

    The only reason these kids even got arrested for shooting this handgun was that there just happened to be an off-duty Cinnaminson cop and his retired Cinnaminson police chief dad in the same wooded area as them at the time of the shooting. I really doubt that anybody else in the township within their respective homes, or even on the streets and roads, would have been close enough to hear these shots, find cause for concern, and then dial 911.

    This cop and his retired cop dad were supposedly hunting back there in these woods. Hunting for what, and with what kind of weapon, is what I’d like to know. The only game animal that I have ever seen in that area is deer and mallard duck, but I’m unsure as to what the dates for the gun and bow seasons are now. Well, I really doubt that there is a duck season in February, so I guess deer is the more likely game they were after.

    What I also want to know is who said that this cop and his retired cop dad were allowed to go hunting back in those woods to start with. I’ve been back in these woods myself on a few occasions, and I have seen several signs around there which say that the land is owned by the Taylor family, that it is open as a nature preserve, and that hunting is NOT ALLOWED there. This would be the very first time which I have ever heard of anybody hunting deer in Cinnaminson Township, and I find it interesting that the hunters just happen to be current and former members of local law enforcement.

    The only place I imagine where hunting could be done safely and legally in Cinnaminson other than on this Taylor property is on the Hunter Farm on Union Mill Road, which is one of America’s oldest family-owned farms and private property by the way, but I doubt that the Hunter family would ever permit such a thing.

  6. That’s interesting context, and certainly makes this a bit fishy. It’s just amazing that a prosecutor thinks these young men deserve to have their life ruined for what at worst, should be a misdemeanor… a fine and no jail time, basically.

  7. Jeez…it seems like in Jersey, people can’t even shoot at some pop cans or whatever in the woods, or fire off a tennis-ball-hairspray cannon in the park, or even shoot a Daisy Red Ryder BB rifle in the back yard without the police getting involved and it becoming a court case eventually.

    I’m sure as hell glad that I don’t have to live in that joke of a state.

  8. Your satellite view link is to the center of town and when I clicked on it I was shocked. After looking further, I agree with your assessment. The link on this comment is to woods by the intersection mentioned in the article, and shooting there looks a lot less reckless than the other one, though it’s still worthy of a misdemeanor.

  9. I have never heard of anyone ever being cited or arrested just for discharging a firearm within Cinnaminson Township.

    This municipality even had an incident back in September of last year, one which involved a 19-year-old using his father’s 9mm pistol to fire shots at the home of somebody that he had been feuding with. Fortunately, none of these shots hit anyone inside the dwelling.

    The perpetrator was arrested soon afterward and charged with a variety of offenses, like aggravated assault, attempted murder and weapons offenses, but not for merely discharging the pistol.

    Not every municipality in New Jersey has ordinances on discharging firearms. It’s not like they are really necessary anyway as far as I’m concerned. This state has enough gun laws as it is.

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