Ran across this story this evening, and found this part to be fascinating:
Kenneth Moose, 39, a longtime twin borough resident who now lives in Bridgewater Township, is a former Far Hills police sergeant who, earlier this year, was cleared of charges that he illegally possessed an assault firearm.
Moose, 39, served for 14 years with the Far Hills Borough before retiring in December 2002.
Moose’s fitness for police duty was called into question in October 2002, when he was arrested for possessing an M-1 Carbine, a World War II-era firearm classified as a prohibited assault weapon under a 1990 New Jersey law. He had received the .30-caliber semi-automatic weapon from a local resident in September 1990, four months after the assault weapons ban was enacted.
Which makes me wonder what happened to the “local resident” who violated the law by possessing the M1 Carbine four months after the ban was enacted.
He was indicted by a Somerset County grand jury on the weapons charge last December, then cleared of charges in May. At that time, Superior Court Judge Edward Coleman, sitting in Somerville, said state statutes did not bar local police officers from privately owning banned weapons.
Question: Did the law specifically exempt police officers? Did it specifically exempt private ownership? If so, WHY? On what grounds? And if not, didn’t the judge just make law from the bench? What makes local police officers a protected class? Can they privately own banned machineguns? Sawed-off shotguns? Suppressed handguns?
Because the charge was the first of its kind to be brought against a police officer under the assault weapons ban, the state Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) sided with Moose in a friend of the court brief.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has appealed the judge’s dismissal of the charges. A hearing date has not yet been scheduled.
I’d be more than a little interested in the outcome of that hearing.