Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Texan's N.J. Gun Conviction is Upheld

Dustin Reininger

A Texas man arrested with 21 guns in his car while passing through New Jersey four years ago will remain in prison after an appeals court on Monday upheld his conviction in a case that could wind up in front of the state Supreme Court.

Dustin Reininger is serving a five-year sentence with a three-year minimum before he is eligible for parole.

A jury convicted him in absentia in 2010 on several weapons counts including illegal possession of shotguns, rifles, hollow-point bullets, and a high-capacity magazine after police found him sleeping in his car behind a bank in Readington early March 20, 2009.

Reininger, who was listed as living in Rockport, Texas, initially denied having guns in the car, but after they noticed two firearms cases on the backseat, police searched the vehicle and found 14 rifles, four shotguns, and three handguns, along with the bullets and magazine. Reininger told police he was moving to Texas from Maine and transporting the weapons, which his attorney says he legally owned.
I'm sure the pro-gun crowd will find this a terrible violation of the guy's rights, but is it really? When gun owners decide to break laws because they find them too inconvenient or outright wrong, they should be prepared to pay the price.  If they gamble and lose, they have to pay up.  What could be fairer than that?

The reasons for the laws are obvious.  New Jersey doesn't like people hanging around banks, or anywhere else for that matter, with a car full of weapons.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment


  1. "Failure to comply with it out of stupidity or ignorance is met with a slap on the wrist, not with lengthy prison sentences like you guys keep saying."

    Is this what you refer to as a slap on the wrist?

    1. No, certainly not. This is the exception to the slap-on-the-wrist rule.

    2. So how about the $1000 fine for saving an 11-year-old kid's life? Is that a "slap on the wrist" for the crime of saving a kid's life, or something a bit harsher?

    3. Can you share why you think it being an exception is justified? My impression is that if you dont outright approve of this "exception", you dont seem to disapprove.

    4. Does that mean that you don't think this guy should be in jail? Or do you think that he deserved this?

    5. I don't know, T. Maybe there's more to it than the poor persecuted gun owner just needed a nap.

      But, for argument's sake, if there is nothing more to it, I'd say the sentence is overly harsh.

    6. Kurt, if you really have "right" on your side, why do you have to twist things like that. Don't you think "the crime of saving a kid's life" is a bit dishonest to describe what happened?

    7. If he hadn't had the gun--the illegal gun--he very likely would have been unable to save the kid's life. As I said in the article, a law that has to be broken in order to save a child from being torn apart by vicious dogs is an evil law--a law that supports kids dying in agonized pieces in pit bulls' jaws. I find such laws evil.

      You, of course, are entitled to approve of them if you wish.

    8. No only do you insinuate that the guy here was up to no good, without any basis for such speculation other than the fact that he's an evil gun owner, but then you say only that the sentence is overly harsh.

      SO, I can only take from that that you think that the felony conviction is totally proper, but that the jail time should have been suspended.

      And so now we have it: you think that it's appropriate to convict someone for pulling over and taking a nap in your anti-gun paradise. Screw You and your ideas of "common sense" gun control. The rest of us are sensible people who think a felony should require more mens rea than simply "being a gun owner" and more actus reus than "taking a nap".

    9. There's more news about the guy fined $1,000 for saving a child from being ripped to pieces by vicious dogs. Someone started a campaign to raise the money to cover his fine--to shield him from the evil of D.C.'s pro-kids-getting-torn-to-shreds policies. He expressed his gratitude for the effort, but asked that donors instead give the money to the boy he saved.

      In other words--he's a fairly typical "gun criminal." The kind of guy you forcible citizen disarmament fanatics like to punish.

  2. 1: As Sarge pointed out, this case contradicts your previous position--but don't worry; we're accustomed to people on your side being slippery and taking self-contradictory positions.

    2: "New Jersey doesn't like people hanging around banks . . . with a car full of weapons." Way to throw a red herring! The location near the bank has nothing to do with his sentence, it was just his unlucky choice of a place to catch a little sleep that drew attention.

    3: Rather than his proximity to the bank, this case is about the mere possession, within New Jersey, of the guns and ammo by an unlicensed person--a non-resident who was passing through, moving from one place where the guns were legal to another where they were legal. You get really sanctimonious saying that this is no violation of his rights, and that he should have obeyed the law--How, pray tell, is he supposed to get a license from New Jersey as a non-resident passing through?

    4: There were so many cases where people were traveling through NY, NJ, and other anti-gun states, transporting their guns and getting harassed or arrested that Congress passed a federal law stating that as long as the gun was locked up and you were traveling from point A to point B, both in places where your ownership of the gun was legal, you couldn't be charged with violating the laws in a place you were passing through. This federal statute gets ignored often enough, and sometimes the cops get away with it like in this case. Why would they get away with it here? Because he stopped for the night in New Jersey rather than keeping on trucking through the state, and through NY, and finally slept when he got to CT, NH, or VT.

    So, Mike, tell us what this guy should have done? Sure, if he had foresight to know he would get tired he could have stopped an slept in PA. Is it really appropriate to jail him because he slept in the wrong state and didn't drive straight through Jersey?

    This is a violation of this guy's rights. Plain and simple. Your support of this guy's conviction and blithe tone about how nothing could be fairer illustrates what an abominable, tyrannical toad you are.

    1. On a comment I deleted, Kurt thanked you for calling me a "tyrannical toad."

      I think with that bit of pushing the envelope, you've gone too far. I value your comments very much, but I will not post any more that contain personal attacks against me or ones in which you call me names.

    2. So am I to take it that I may call the government tyrannical but I can't call you a supporter of such tyranny?

    3. And even if you aren't going to post the other two comments of mine, or this one since it refers to them being moderated out, are you at least going to answer the points above?

      What should this guy have done, and why does his pulling off the road and having a nap justify jailing him when he couldn't have been jailed if he drove straight through the state--even if the cops pulled him over and found the guns--so long as he was just passing through?

  3. This is exactly what Federal law is supposed to protect. It is lawful to transport guns across state lines if they are legal at the destination. New Jersey and New York are notorious for violating both the spirit and the letter of that law.

  4. I'll echo want Ssgmarkcr said, and also add this: where is the victim? Where is the violence? This guy is being imprisoned for years, and you are all for it though you just told us you don't want to see prison time for non- violent crimes. Just taking away his gun rights for life will do, you said. But, this guy is a white man from Texas- you didn't mean "those" people I suppose. Is your justification that he was "up to no good" like you said for Brian Aitken?

    Besides, did he "decide" to break the law? He probably assumed NJ was part of America. Before I got into fighting for gun rights, I didn't know there were places like this. That could have been me. In fact when I did a cross country move, it was only because I went out of my way for a visit that my path didn't go through Chicago.

  5. Of course you did say you approve of jail time for repeat offenders of non-violent victimless crimes. So was this the second time he was caught driving trough NJ with guns?

    1. I don't know, and I don't think you do either. I'm not for people going to jail for non-violent crimes, but I'm also not for gun owners shirking their responsibility to know what the laws are. I truly don't find it credible that a guy with a bunch of guns in his car was totally ignorant of the fact that NJ is not friendly territory.

      Where's your sense of individual responsibility? You guys love to blame the unfair laws too much.

    2. Where's the responsibility for the law to be reasonable? What possible purpose, other than disarming everyone, can there be in punishing a man for travelling across the country?

      You want limitless government, but controlled citizens. We want limited government and free citizens.

    3. You guys love to blame the unfair laws too much.

      How is it even possible for "unfair laws" to be blamed "too much." If, as I assume even you would agree, the purpose of a system of justice is, well . . . justice, an unjust law is anathema, an abomination.

      No unfair law has any redeeming value, and the people behind such laws must be stopped. By whatever means necessary.

    4. Mike, I don't get how you can still say you don't support prison for non-violent offenses, and support this guy being in jail. Which is it? You're basically saying you don't support him going to prison, unless of course he breaks the law... In a state he doesn't live in and was just planning on passing through for a a matter of hours, no less. Where again do you stand on marijuana prison sentences? Vehemently opposed- unless of course they weren't responsible individuals and they broke the law by smoking or possessing it? Is that your stance?

      Keep pushing this idea that all gun owners everywhere must know every state and city's law in order to be "individually responsible". It will drive the casual gun owners to the "extremists" when they realize what happens when you guys get your way. That's what happened with me. I was moderate on gun control until I moved to California and read up on their laws.

    5. "How is it even possible for "unfair laws" to be blamed "too much." "

      People are responsible for their actions. If you break a law, regardless of whether it's just or unjust, only you are responsible for your actions. You can't blame the law.

      How could you belabor this silly argument when you often accuse gun control people of "blaming the gun." You mock them for this supposed blaming of an inanimate object, yet you now turn around and blame the law instead of the person who breaks it.

    6. The law is an expression of intent. A gun is inanimate. A law is an action, while a gun is an object. A law can be unjust, but a gun has no moral character whatsoever by itself.

      But if people are responsible for their actions and deserve to be punished when they break the law, Rosa Parks should have been fined and told to shut up--right?

    7. You're right, of course. The law is, after all, just a bit of writing. Instead, we should be blaming the tyrants who make such laws and subjecting them to tarring and feathering. Those who support them in the making of such laws, like you and Laci, should probably also be subject to some of that displeasure.

    8. You can't blame the law.

      I most certainly can "blame the law" for being unjust, and thus a betrayal of the entire point of laws.

      An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.

      Kinda sounds like Gandhi is "blaming the law," doesn't it?

      And Dr. Martin Luther King had no compunction about "blaming the law," either, did he?

      One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

      . . . yet you now turn around and blame the law instead of the person who breaks it.

      Why should I "blame" someone for violating a law that should never have been drafted, let alone passed? Why should I spare the legislators who are responsible for the heinous laws?