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Christie pardons Marine charged with carrying illegal gun

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AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Governor Christie pardoned a Marine who was facing jail time for unlawful possession of a firearm in New Jersey.

Joshua Velez, 26, a Marine sergeant and military recruiter in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was not a resident of New Jersey, according to northjersey.com

“He actually purchased the firearm four days after the shooting and killing of recruitment officers in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July,” said Velez’s attorney, Laura C. Sutnick adding, “He is a very accomplished Marine,” Sutnick said.

In what some are touting as a presidential political moves, Christie has granted five pardon requests including Velez who received charges for unlawfully possessing firearms while visiting or passing through New Jersey.

Christie also recommended several gun regulations which could allow more state residents to qualify for handgun permits after he had been criticized on the campaign trail as ‘insufficiently conservative on gun rights’, as reported by the news source.

 

Velez arrest “carries around five to 10 years in jail, with a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of 42 months,” Sutnick said.

A New Jersey spokeswoman indicated Velez was visiting family in New Jersey over Labor Day weekend during a traffic stop for failing to signal a turn. Velez had the gun locked up in the glove compartment and a Massachusetts permit for the gun, but he didn’t realize the permit wasn’t reciprocal in New Jersey, where they have some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

Christie stated, “we should have certain respect for folks who have permits in other states” to divert offenders like Velez to non jail time pre-trial intervention programs where the situation is an isolated incident which posed minimal danger to state residents.

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