This is bizarre, but it’s New Jersey so what do you expect? The guns were legally owned but in a plea bargain the owner paid a small fine and the guns were confiscated:
Goldstein was arrested in March after Northfield police searched his Mount Vernon Avenue home after receiving a report of suspicious objects in his basement. The objects turned out to be old hand grenades and some fuses, but the discovery of a 9mm Uzi submachine gun and what police believed to be the sawed-off shotgun led to Goldstein’s arrest and extradition from Pennsylvania.
Possession of an assault weapon is a third-degree crime in New Jersey, carrying a sentence of as much as five years in prison.
Attorney Amy Weintrob said Goldstein’s Uzi was purchased and registered with the state in 1989 – one year before state law changed to criminalize Uzis as assault weapons.
“The registration was on file with the state of New Jersey,” Weintrob said, “and the Prosecutor’s Office verified the information, and therefore possession of the Uzi was not illegal.”
Housel said Goldstein did voluntarily register the Uzi under its old classification as a rifle in 1989, but after the law changed in 1990 there was a “grace period for (some) individuals who met certain criteria” to register their Uzis under the new classification as an assault weapon. Goldstein’s Uzi was never registered as an assault weapon, Housel said.
“Relying on less-than-complete information from the NRA,” Housel said, “(Goldstein) thought the prior registration was legitimate. Looking at whether there was criminal intent, it’s reasonable that he could have believed the Uzi was registered. The decision by (Assistant Prosecutor David) Ruffenach to do the plea agreement the way he did was a reasonable one.”
Regarding the shotgun, Weintrob said that she and an investigator went to the Northfield Police Department to measure the gun in front of officers. The result, she said, was that the gun was measured at 26.5 inches long, while to be legally considered “sawed-off” it had to be less than 26 inches long overall and less than 18 inches from breech to muzzle.
“That’s when they realized it was legal,” Weintrob said of the Northfield police, who she said were the lead investigators on the case. “The prosecutors realized they couldn’t proceed on that charge.”
Goldstein ended up pleading guilty to two amended charges of disorderly conduct resulting in a combined fine of $127. The weapons are in the custody of the Northfield police and could be either destroyed or sold, James said.
“It’s a good resolution for everybody,” Weintrob said. “Mr. Goldstein will never have those weapons again.”
Emphasis on that last line is mine. It’s good for everybody that Goldstein will never have those (legal) weapons again? Goldstein’s attorney, Amy Weintrob, as well as all the people representing the government in this case are bigots.