Surprise: "Firearms cache not necessarily illegal"

The Philadelphia Inquirer has this amazing article here. It has often been one of my pet peeves that newspapers will frequently point to the number of guns or ammunition that someone has as evidence of some type of guilt. Even when the number of rounds is only about 500 or a thousand I have seen newspaper articles in shock over the number, so it is very welcome to see this piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The nearly 260 guns and half-million rounds of ammunition discovered in a bunker on a South Jersey man's property this week sounds like an ominous find for law enforcement.
But Brian Hinkle's weapons could have been bought and owned legally, said Evan Nappen, an Eatontown, N.J., lawyer whose practice focuses on firearms law.

"It depends on the type of weapons involved, if none of them are prohibited assault weapons," he said. "There's no limit to the rifles and shotguns one can possess."

State Police Sgt. Steve Jones said the arsenal could constitute the largest number of weapons state investigators have ever uncovered, but he said it would take time to determine whether each gun was owned legally.

"It will be a very long administrative process," he said.

In the bunker, police found semiautomatic rifles, handguns, antique guns, and World War II-era firearms of various calibers.

Under New Jersey law, residents need a state-issued firearms purchaser identification to buy long guns, but there are no restrictions on how many can be purchased.

To buy handguns in New Jersey, residents also need a separate state permit for each handgun they plan to buy. As long as all the state and federal procedures are properly followed, "you could have a million guns," Nappen said. "The number is not relevant."

As for the ammunition in Hinkle's home, Nappen noted that some calibers are sold in cases of 500 or 1,000 bullets.

"That's a lot of ammo, but it's not insane," he said. "It's what you'd find on a big shelf in a store." . . .

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Blogger Brian K Miller said...

Everything in the article was reasonable except the last couple paragraphs:

"Bryan Miller, executive director of Ceasefire NJ, also was concerned about reports of a bunker and the size of Hinkle's arsenal. He said he would be shocked if Hinkle did not own illegal assault weapon.

"That's a lot of guns," he said."

For me, the closing destroyed the mostly neutral tone of the article. What made it worse, the guy from Ceasefire has my name!

1/31/2009 1:15 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

If there are two things that truly annoy me, it is that LE and the media missrepresent firearms, and or places of weapons storage.

An AR-15/M-16 does not qualify as an assualt rifle. Never has, never will. Many weapons are wrongly identified as such simply to create fear.

Secondly, it is not an Arsenal. It is an Armory. An arsenal produces weapons and munitions, and an armory is where the finished goods are stored. I do admit that arsenal does sound more ominous though...

This man whose firearms were seized, will never see them again, nor will he be reimbursed for his losses either.

1/31/2009 10:09 AM  
Blogger He Who Walks Behind The Fros said...

I have over 500 bullets in my car right now ( a brick of .22) and a couple of .40. I can just imagine the outrage in my community if that was printed in our paper...

2/01/2009 10:16 AM  

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