Right Hooks

New Jersey Considers WWII Carbine an 'Assault Weapon'

A state court ruled the carbine is an "illegal weapon."

Dan Gilmore · Sep. 24, 2015
Marine Pfc. James Michels guards the first flag to fly over Iwo Jima. In his hands is an M1 Carbine.

Danny Burt is caught in the bureaucratic morass known as New Jersey Gun laws. In 2013, someone filed a temporary restraining order against him, which, according to New Jersey law, meant the state had to temporarily confiscate the 21 guns he owned. Among his collection was an M1 Carbine, the kind that hundreds of thousands of American GIs carried across the mud of Europe and dragged through the sands of the Pacific as they fought the Axis powers during World War II. Burt’s was a family heirloom, given to him legally in 2006 by his grandfather, who had carried the rifle through the war. New Jersey law requires that the police return the weapons within 45 days of confiscation, unless a judge orders otherwise. But New Jersey makes no distinction between antique and modern weapons. Under state law, the carbine was an “assault rife” and its possession, according to Chris Eger, is a second-degree felony in the state. So Burt was banned from exercising his Second Amendment rights. This is not the first time that Garden State citizens have run afoul of their state’s idiotic gun laws. Retired teacher Gordon van Gilder faced a 10-year prison sentence earlier this year after a police officer discovered a flintlock pistol in his car. The state decided to drop van Gilder’s case, but Burt isn’t so fortunate. On Sept. 15, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division ruled the carbine is an “illegal weapon.”

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