New Jersey

Prop-Gun Gotcha

Injustice in New Jersey

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A film extra faces up to five years of lockup for brandishing a fake gun during a movie shoot.

The trouble started last year, when comedian Carlo Bellario took an unpaid role as a drug lord's henchman in an independent film called Vendetta Games. The scene was a car-chase segment that required Bellario to wave an airsoft pellet gun out the window while his automobile sped through the New Jersey neighborhood of Woodbridge.

When shooting was finished, the actors found themselves surrounded by real cop cars. Alarmed residents had apparently called the authorities. Once on the scene, police determined that the film's producers had neither a film permit nor a permit for the prop gun Bellario had used.

Just one person—Bellario—was arrested. The comedian spent four days in a county jail for unauthorized possession of a handgun before his family was able to post the thousands required for bail. If found guilty, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison. He is currently prohibited from leaving the state, though he needs to do that regularly for his stand-up work. As of early March, he had not been given a court date.

Bellario's ordeal has served as a rallying cry for Garden State legislators who want changes to New Jersey's gun laws. Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R–Union) and Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D–Union) say they're working on a bill to give prosecutors more discretion in cases like Bellario's, where no evidence of criminal intent was found.

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  1. NJ is the worst of the worst. The liberal Democrats and unions have taken over this state and are driving it into the ground. Fear and ignorance fuel all legislative decisions. Unfortunately, the citizens are so brainwashed that they elect these people into office over and over again.

    NJ is and will always be a broken and corrupt state.

  2. “Criminal intent”? That old thing? It has no place in the laws of a progressive society.

  3. It was NOT an airsoft gun (requiring no licensing ) but a pellet gun. In NJ BB/pellet ( Daisy, Gamo etc.) airguns are considered firearms and require a background check, fingerprints and a license for a long gun version , not too sure but I think a pistol permit for the handgun versions ( NJ requires a permit for each handgun purchase along with fingerprints for ecery permit issued). Sling shots are not even legal in NJ. In NJ there are no 2nd Amendment rights, a resident must secure the permission of the State in order to exercise that right. NJ prevents the right to bare any arms outside one home regardless if its a firearm. Residents can not bare, nunchucks, knives, slingshots, stun guns are firearms in order to exercise the right of self defense.

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