NJ father jailed, stripped of parental rights for transporting legal guns to new home

Three unloaded, legally owned guns locked in the car trunk of a man moving from Colorado to New Jersey is keeping a man from watching his son grow up.

In New Jersey, they call that the rule of law.

brianaitken1017Now, Brian Aitken is traveling the country, using the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to raise money and hoping to write a book about a travesty of justice that’s keeping him from his son.

Aitken was arrested in 2009 while returning to live in New Jersey to be near his son who lived with his ex-wife, according to a Daily Mail article. He had stopped at his mother’s home with a vehicle full of his belongings and she called 911 because she was concerned he was so distraught he might harm himself.

She hung up before the call was complete, but police responded anyway. By the time they did, Aitken had left, so police called him on his cell phone and — with a combination of threats and persuasion — convinced him to return to the scene.

Officers searched his car and found the weapons in the trunk, where Aitken said he’d been instructed to keep them for transport by the New Jersey State Police.

“I did exactly what they told me to do,” Aitken told the Daily Mail.

Regardless, police arrested him for violating the Garden State’s strict gun control laws, which prevent even legal owners of guns to have them in their possession outside of the home except under certain conditions.

After a trial that in Reason magazine’s description comes across as Kafkaesque – his jury seems to have wanted to acquit him but was essentially prevented from doing so by the judge – Aitken was sentenced to seven years in prison, but released after four months when his sentence was commuted by Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Even with the commutation, Aitken still spent his 27th birthday behind bars.

So Aitken is out of prison, but because his conviction was on a second-degree felony a family court has ruled he cannot see his son.

“After I was indicted of a victimless and violentless charge, with no prior criminal record, a family judge interpreted the charge to mean that I was a violent criminal with access to firearms and that fathers who own guns pose a threat to their children,” he said in a written statement to Ammoland.

Granted, some fathers who own guns probably do pose a threat to their children. Just as some fathers who don’t own guns can pose a threat to their children.

The real question is, did Aitken, who had no criminal record before the day his mother called the police hoping to make sure he was safe,  ever pose a threat to anyone — much less to the son he moved half a continent to be with while he grew up?

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Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].


23 thoughts on “NJ father jailed, stripped of parental rights for transporting legal guns to new home

  1. Grant Ritchie says:

    Oh, this poor soul has to be THRILLED with his mother. Mom, for future reference, mind your your own G D business.

  2. Grant Ritchie says:

    “His jury seems to have wanted to acquit him but was essentially prevented from doing so by the judge.” Not so! If you’re ever on a jury, remember something called “jury nullification.” A jury’s ruling doesn’t have to agree with what the judge wants… or even what the law decrees. A jury can rule whichever way they damned well please. Not widely known, but true.

  3. Earlene Leonard says:

    at least the gov. commuted his sentence and he SHOULD have had his record destroyed…what made his mom think he may harm himself??its just a shame..bet he and mom don’t talk for awhile..

  4. Earlene Leonard says:

    oh yeah, if he writes a book and makes a bundle of money the wife and mother will be the first in line for a share..she will get lots of child support

  5. Nancy Sanders says:

    The article should not only say that “some fathers with guns as well as fathers without guns can be a danger to their children”, but should also state: “just the same as some mothers with guns as well as mothers without guns can be a danger to their children”

    Where do people get off not calling light to the other side of the coin. Many more mothers have sole custody of their children than Dads and it is a proven fact that children are in more danger with Mom and her significant other than they are with Dad or his significant other.

    This was a wrongful conviction and needs to be removed from the man’s record and he needs his rights as a father reinstated, and In my personal opinion, the mother stripped of her rights for taking advantage of something she knew was wrong in the first place.

    Mr. Saunders you missed a golden opportunity to stand up for equal rights for Men, especially Fathers in our ludicrous Family court system.

    1. disqus_8hc2irEGa5 says:

      Nancy Sanders – “Where do people get off not calling light to the other side of the coin.”

      I see you just wrote this a couple hours ago. I too just read it and had a couple thoughts about your comments after reading all the other 20 with disinterest.

      I think your coin comment and the fact that we don’t see too many authors pointing out the lack of outrage from the public for what Mommy and her new man can get away with for child abuse as opposed to what a Daddy might get away with, as a valid call. The statistics are in black and white at the DOJ’s website for anyone to view as long as the government isn’t shut down for the moment. Kidding aside, it sure was a wrongful conviction and my heart goes out to Mr. Aitken, but being the wrong gender seems to be one of his two problems. The other is the inability to acquire adequate, honest council in this nation as there are no competent, decent lawyers with the desire to expose the system that funds theirs and their colleagues family income.

      In my opinion he will not get to see his son grow up for any other reason than what he was arrested for and what ever brought on his nightmare. I can honestly tell you this because for doing a lot less than he did, I was put in a very similar situation. Nobody cared then, just like nobody cares now.

      1. Nancy Sanders says:

        I care, only problem is “I don’t count”. I am one individual watching my son go through this same kind of madness. I don’t get to see my grandson and i pray every day, he knows his father and grandmother love him very much. I pray he knows his little sister asks about him daily and asks her daddy when Blake is coming home. We just have to keep trying and keep speaking out til someone listens.

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