TX Man Transporting Unloaded Firearms Through NJ Doing 3-5 Years in Prison
A TX man, who was in the process of moving to Maine, made a very simple mistake, and never made it to his hew home. Dustin Reininger is serving a 3-5 year prison sentence in the Garden State because he made a mistake, he stopped to take a nap in NJ during his multi day drive from Texas to Maine.
Police approached Reininger’s car when he was taking a nap near a bank in Readington, NJ.
Police then searched the suspect’s vehicle after seeing gun cases laying in the back seat and found the man’s personal gun collection, which was being transported in the car. This included 14 rifles, 4 shotguns and 3 handguns along with hollow point ammunition (which is extremely illegal in NJ). Reininger was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison, with a chance for parole after 3.
Reininger would not have been arrested if his guns were simply in locked cases, or if he possessed a NJ Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, which not being a resident of NJ, he obviously did not possess.
Reininger’s attorney has serious issues with the way the search was conducted on his client’s vehicle and he is also upset that jurors were not told about a federal law which allows people who are traveling to transport guns through states which may have more restrictive gun laws. Although the transportation exemption also requires guns to be locked and inaccessible.
Based on the source article it is unclear if Mr. Reininger was unaware of New Jersey’s extremely strict gun laws.
Reininger’s case is in the news once again because he just lost his appeals case. The only further step he and his attorneys can take is to petition the New Jersey Supreme Court.
According to lehighvalleylive.com via the AP Reininger’s attorney made the following statements,
“All the officers saw were cases,” Nappen said. “The court is essentially saying the plain view of a gun case is a basis for a warrantless search. That means every law-abiding gun owner in New Jersey is subject to warrantless search if they transport their firearms in a gun case.
“My recommendation to all gun owners is to transport all firearms in guitar cases,” he added.
“If he’d had [a firearms owner ID card], he wouldn’t have been guilty of this offense,” Nappen said. “He didn’t have one because he didn’t live here. He was in transit and all the guns were lawfully his. So you have a situation where he is, in effect, turned into a criminal by New Jersey’s gun laws”
As if you need any other reasons not to visit NJ, even in passing, here you go. An otherwise law abiding American citizen has had his life ruined due to the draconian gun laws of a single state.