New Jersey Bastardy

From Reader Mark D in Comments yesterday:

On the topic of suppressors, I’ve been saying for a while that I want to move from New Jersey to America, but I NEVER thought America would be found in Great Britain…

Don’t even get me started. On Saturday last, we got a text from Doc Russia in Newark Airport, while he was flying Edinburgh – Newark – DFW:

Fun fact: going through Newark with a federally-licensed suppressor will end up with you face-down on the ground, handcuffed.

Here’s the deal. Doc has a legal suppressor for his Remington, all the paperwork done, tax paid, blessed by the Pope, yadda yadda yadda. He was about to pack it in his rifle case to bring home, when both Combat Controller and I suggested that he shouldn’t, because New Jersey. He laughed it off, saying his luggage was checked through to DFW — but agreed that discretion was called for, and that he could bring it back another time when flying direct from Britishland to Dallas.

It’s a good thing he did. Here’s why.

As we all know, when arriving in a foreign country, you have to go through Customs and Immigration in your arrival “port”, even if you’re connecting to go further. Now, if your connecting flight is from the same terminal, you’re good to go. If you have to go to another terminal for your connecting flight, things might get more tricky.

As is the case here. Suppressors are completely banned in New Jersey — no federal blessing counts, no paperwork is acceptable. Set foot in the state of New Jersey with a suppressor, no matter how legal, and you will end up face-down on the ground, handcuffed.

So had Doc arrived in Newark with his suppressor and left the international terminal, the NJ State Police would have arrested him, even though he was simply in transit — going from one jurisdiction where suppressors are legal to another where it’s also legal — the very fact that he was in New Jersey at all with his suppressor, albeit only for a few minutes, would have made him an instant felon.

And we know all this because Doc happened to ask a member of New Jersey’s Staatspolizei what their policy is. Apparently the offizier got instantly aggro, and insisted on checking Doc’s luggage for himself — just asking the question is grounds for suspicion in the New Jersey Reich.

I’m curious as to how many other states would behave the same way. I can see New York and California doing likewise, but if anyone can shed light on this topic, I’d like to know.

In the interim, all New Jersey People Of Our Sort should make preparations to leave that shitty place and move to the United States as soon as it’s practically feasible. Like I once did.


  1. Kim,
    I could see Illinois, Massachusetts and perhaps Maryland all doing as New Jersey. And while certainly not a state, DC would probably act in jack-booted lock-step with Jersey as well.

    1. Hey, you leave Maryland out of this! It’s bad, but a long way from New Jersey/New York bad. It’s actually NFA-friendly.

      1. Mike,
        I’ll gladly stand corrected re: NFA. As a current subject of IL and former subject of MA, I can say without reservation that both places suck.

  2. I fled the Peoples Republik of New Jersistan 17 years ago, took my guns, my antique car and my fat butt to the Gunshine state of Florida. Within three months, I had a concealed carry license and a snubby under my belt. I can go into a gun store and walk out with a pistol, same day, same hour, no hassle.
    There are within 3 miles, several gun stores or pawn shops with FFLs, Within 10 miles, 6. There are within two hours drive four rifle ranges with up to 1000 yards. I belong to three shooting clubs.
    I do not miss New Jersistan.

  3. Kim:

    Forgive me for putting on my lawyer hat, but in the above scenario, it would seem to me that 18 U.S.C. § 926A preemption would apply (firearm, as the term is used in 926A, also includes “any firearm muffler or firearm silencer” 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)(C)).

    So, while they can always hassle you, as long as you’re following 926A (or the OIG opinion on it from 2005:, all they’re doing by harassing you is guaranteeing you that you have a pretty slam dunk 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against them, as well as almost presumptive shifting on attorneys’ fees.

    1. We see this happen in New York every once in a while, too. The cops quietly drop the charges after a few days. I haven’t heard a story of anyone actually suing yet. ISTM that someone with some money and time should carry a suppressor or gun through, get arrested, and then sue everyone in range: the cops, the city, the state, and most importantly, the airport, the airline, and any individual involved in notifying the cops there’s a legally checked gun. (The idea for the last few defendants is to make the airlines feel uninclined to rat people out for legal behavior.)

      I haven’t heard of anyone actually doing anything other than heaving a sigh of relief at the charges being dropped, unfortunately.

      1. I’d love to see someone light them up, but the cases of which I’m aware were either a bit “iffy” in terms of just how perfectly the transporter was following 926A, or, like you said, the victim is just too damned relieved to have not gone to jail and they’re just happy to get out of NY/NJ and put it behind them.

        1. Christie pardoned several people who stumbled across NJ laws – like the Mom with the PA permit who took a wrong turn into NJ.

          Murphy won’t be issuing those kinds of pardons. I do think a court case will break them eventually but I don’t want to be that test case.

          1. No doubt. Though Shaneen Allen was thoroughly in the wrong, legally speaking, as she was carrying a concealed and loaded pistol when she was pulled over in NJ. Her mistake was in thinking that her PA permit somehow covered her in NJ — which is exactly what you’re told isn’t the case when you get your PA permit.

  4. They may well arrest you in the BS of A states– however they’d never make a conviction stick. So long as you can prove your destination was in a free state, the eventual Federal Judge would tell the applicable BS of A state to release you and your property with the assistance of a marginally competent lawyer. (It’s worth noting that this is easy enough to do if flying– much harder if driving)

    However, yes, you’d spend a few days in the greybar hotel and have to pay said Federally licensed lawyer. But then you’d also get to deprive the BS of A idiots of some of their hard-stolen dollars in suing for false arrest, and a litany of other stuff.

    That road is a hard, and expensive one. But without people like Dick Anthony Heller taking that road… well.

    1. “That road is a hard, and expensive one. ”

      Yes it is, you uppity citizen. “The process is the punishment.”

      I seem to remember some legislation passed, oh thirty years ago that was supposed to cover situations exactly like this, but it also seems there were carve-outs for NJ, NY, etc. I think it was the same legislation that took post-86 machine guns away from the average gun owner.

      1. No. There were no carve-outs.

        The problem is that we haven’t had a President willing to inflict Federal Supremacy on these rebellious states. And by “inflict”, I don’t mean sending lawyers. I mean sending air strikes. We had this out between 1861 and 1865…and the Confederates could point to Bills of Secession. These states are just flouting Federal law and saying, “What are you going to do about it?”

        The treatment meted out to Atlanta in 1864 and Richmond in 1865 is the proper response, as far as I’m concerned.

  5. I’m working on plans to escape from New Jersey. Now that they’ve gone full-retard and elected Phil Murphy, things are going to get much worse. The only hope is that they go far enough that an NJ gun case gets loose in federal court and the the courts smash them down hard.

    That or national reciprocity – but Congressional Republicans are too worthless to pass it.

    1. And even if it is passed, it’ll be pretty much unenforceable.

      “Yes, your handgun is fine, Mister Out-of-Stater, but you’re under arrest for First-Degree Mopery and of course we’ll have to seize your weapon when you’re booked. Good luck getting it back.”

  6. A NJ state cop got aggressive at the prospect of a “civilian” having a weapon? No, I don’t believe it.

    Yeah, some of them like being the only ones…..

    1. I hate to break it to the trooper, but unless he’s drawing a paycheck from DoD and is subject to the UCMJ, he’s a fucking civilian.

      1. Cops that refer to other civilians as civilians, as if they themselves aren’t also civilians grind my gears.

  7. Always, Always, Always do your plane changing in the EU when you are returning to the US. Then make sure that it is a non-stop flight to your destination US airport. Do this with or without guns.

    Why do you do this? Because you have to take possession of your luggage in the international section then move to the domestic section and pass security again. You cannot check your bags through international to domestic. Ergo you had possession of an illegal item in the state of wherever.

    1. “Ergo you had possession of an illegal item in the state of wherever.”

      Except that in this case there’s a Federal law that preempts the states here: carry a gun through an airport on your way from point A to point B, the cops aren’t going to make charges stick, which is why they always drop any charges.

  8. A few years ago I was one of fifteen people from Texas working on a project for two months in Pennsylvania and we were sharing rental cars during out stay. I was sharing with a woman from Texas who had her CHL and 9mm pistol and ammo, while I had my CHL from Texas I did not have a pistol with me.

    One weekend my car friend flew back to Texas and told me that rather than messing with traveling with her gun she had it locked in the trunk of our car and then she warned me not to go into New Jersey which was about 20 miles East of us with some good restaurants. That was fine with me since I was going to Gettysburg to walk the battlefield once more.

    At the time I was not aware of all the New Jersey laws but a little bit of research showed that while I could pass through the state I could not drive into the state and back out going to eat, that would be a criminal act. In addition of course she had some nice hollowpoint bullets a couple of magazines and an extra box and each of those could bring a separate criminal charge. I had no idea how screwed up things in the North East part of the U.S.A. had become.

    In the 1960’s I was stationed for almost a year in Massachusetts at Fort Devens while I was in the Army and I always kept a pistol under the front seat of my car, married, living off post and no one ever seemed to be worried about that stuff at the time. When I returned from overseas in 1970 I had paperwork to bring a pistol back from Europe, processed through customs Ft. Dix, NJ and then my wife and I were transported up to Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn NY to spend the weekend and finished getting out of the Army on Monday, keeping my pistol in my briefcase all the time, flew from NYC to Houston after showing the pilot I had an unloaded pistol which he looked at and said nice.

    Different times almost 50 years ago, maybe I was breaking some laws then and just got lucky. I love living here in Texas and this coming weekend I will be shooting my friend’s precision .308 at the1,000 range with a suppressor. It breaks my heart that every time it looks as if they will pass legislation making suppressors legal some asshole shoots up a bunch of innocent people.

    1. Know your Pennsylvania/Neu Jersey situation well. A few years ago when I was still working, I had to regularly go from Memphis to West Caldwell to the mothership for more training. I’d drive, and except for that 10-mile stretch of interstate in Western Maryland, I was legal all the way until I hit NJ.

      So, at the Pennsylvania 1 exit eastbound, there I was, handguns in one locked box, ammo in another, throwing my thermonuclear hollow points in the creek. I swear I met the same people over and over there.

      One consolation I have now that I’m disabled and retired, (besides never brushing up a resume’, filling in job app or going on an interview again) is that I’ll never have to go to the PDR of Neu Jersey again.

      velocette, I know exactly what you mean. I was at an FFL who was handling a transfer for me. I looked over at a couple he was also dealing with, and from their accent, could tell they were refugees from NJ. They were positively giddy that they could walk up, fill out the form, pay their money and walk out with a handgun. I told them “Welcome to America.”

      1. I told them “Welcome to America.”

        The first time I went into a gun store in South Carolina, after moving away from Massachusetts, they said the same thing to me.

  9. The above folks are correct in saying that ultimately the NJ Gestapo will (probably) drop the charges. That is after you have spent several days fighting the charges, paying a lawyer, putting up the the extremely obnoxious attorneys general people. It’s just not worth stopping at all in NJ, NY, MD.
    That is, unless you enjoy being treated like a sleazy felon.

  10. Numerous posts on a couple of firearms websites where I moderate have griped about the Gestapo-like behavior of New Jersey cops when any sort of firearms are concerned.

    One guy with a CHL was hassled mightily even though he’d left his handgun at his non-NJ home. The computer informed the cop of the CHL, so he had to “assume the position” while they searched him and his car.

  11. I live in NJ. Don’t much like it here but it’s where Mr. Fields job is, our families, etc.

    Traveling out of state with a firearm is a nightmare. Far too many rules to trip over if you care to fly, and you cannot get through the Five Boros at all. You must go over or around. Well, at least that means passing through some fine country. We drive up the Eastern PA border and take up the thruway bast Binghamton on our way to the Upper Tier. But NY State has its own weirdness with guns, hunting, and permits.

    Florida…I remember being thirteen and on a trip with my grandma, visiting her closest childhood friend whom we’d all called Auntie. My grandmother took me to a pawn shop and bought a few handguns that grandpa had on his wishlist. Aside from that freedom and the Flagler Estate, I cant figure why anyone would live there on purpose. The heat was unbearable.

    Texas sounds nice. Does it get cold there? Perhaps Eastern Idaho. But Mr. Fields is determined to make a good living as a welder/fitter. I think fear keeps us here more than anything else.

  12. Texas sounds nice. Does it get cold there?

    It gets chilly in winter. We get a light dusting of snow every few years and everyone forgets how to drive. For someone from Up North, it probably doesn’t qualify as *really* cold. Temperatures vary with distance from the coast and latitude of course. Texas is long in all directions:-).

  13. North Texas can get snow and ice and as said above folks spend a day sliding into each other on the roads and highways. West of San Antonio here in the Hill Country where I have been living for four years we had about an inch and a half of snow one time and it stayed on the ground until about 10 a.m. It gets below freezing about 20 days a year and always warms up during the day so winter about 150 miles up from the gulf is mild.

    As for Texas gun laws, if you are not a felon or otherwise on the bad list with the Feds you can walk into any store that sells guns, fill out your paperwork, get approval in a short time, pay for your gun and ammo and go out to your car. When you are in your car you can load your gun, rifles and shotguns can stay in plain sight but your loaded pistol is not supposed to be visible. That’s about it.

    One last thing is that if you do have a current concealed license the dealer does not have to call the Feds for approval, just write your CHL info down and out the door you go and that makes Texas a nice place to live.

  14. I drove from Boston to Austin in 1996 with a carload of guns. There is a reason I drove around NJ, instead going from NY to PA to WV to VA to TN. I never had to stop, but given my luck lately, I would have been, and by some jackbooted stormtrooper in Nazi Jersey too.

  15. Probably plenty of work for a welder/fitter in coastal cities in Texas. Odds are very good in the oil patch, as well. SW of San Antonio; Odessa.

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