Power to license and Power to punish

Speaking of New Jersey laws about firearms...

Apparently, a man who legally owned a firearm in New Jersey was carrying the gun in his car in a time and manner that didn't quite fit the narrow confines of the laws of that State.

Steffan Josey-Davis was not a threat to Police when they stopped him (for out-of-date registration), and he was not arrested after he informed them that he had a firearm in his glove-box. However, the firearm was confiscated.

Later, the Police arrested Josey-Davis when he came in to pick up the firearm. Not because he had been engaged in behavior that endangered others, but because he was carrying a firearm in a manner that he was not licensed to do.

Once again, the power to license is the power to punish. Especially if the licensure laws can place heavy penalties on any small infraction.

Would the penalty for driving with expired car-registry been as severe? Both are penalties involving lack of a valid license. And in the typical year, more Americans die in accidental events involving cars than die in homicide-by-gun. Which is more dangerous, the gun or the car?

In this case, the Governor of New Jersey saw fit to pardon Josey-Davis. Which keeps him from a felony record, and doesn't remove him from his desired path into work as a Policeman.

But it is kind of scary that when I cross State lines, I have to double-check the different rules for handling/carrying firearms in different States.

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