New Jersey Man Convicted of Felony for Having Legal Gun in Glove Compartment

Twenty-four-year-old Steffon Josey-Davis was a security guard who worked for a company which transported money in armored vehicles. He bought his firearm legally of course, and even though he had purchased his permit that would have allowed him to keep his firearm in his trunk, it hadn’t yet been approved. Apparently, it was due to be approved the week he was arrested.

Here’s what happened. One morning a couple years ago, he was about to leave for work, he grabbed his gun and started to unload it when he got distracted by his 6-year-old little sister who had come into the garage where he was with his gun. He put his gun in the glove compartment, thinking that he would take care of his sister and then come back to finish what he was doing with his gun, but when he returned, he totally forgot about his gun that was in his glove compartment.

Later that night, he got pulled over because his registration had expired that morning. When he reached for his registration in the glove compartment, he remembered that he had forgotten about his gun. So, he did the right thing and told the officer about his gun. The officer took the gun and saw the man’s work credentials, and everything seemed fine. The officer told him to come by the police station in a few days, and there he could retrieve his firearm. The man left with a citation for having an expired tag, and that was that.

When he went to retrieve his firearm as the officer had told him, the police handcuffed him and jailed him for unlawful possession of a firearm, which is a 2nd degree felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. And since this man had a goal of becoming a cop one day, the fact that he will now have this “criminal record” would make such a goal virtually unattainable.

Instead of having to face a decade in prison, Josey-Davis decided to plead guilty to 2nd degree unlawful possession of a firearm and accept a year of probation. He’s secured a gun rights attorney who’s helping him fight his conviction and will hopefully expunge the incident from his record.

Gun control advocates and the prosecutor are of course very much opposed to changing the law, since it was enacted with “good intentions”:

“Describing his conduct as a simple mistake does not negate the seriousness of this law, which was created to protect police officers and the public,” [Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew] Carey continued. “Illegal gun possession is a second-degree offense, punishable by a prison term of multiple years. This defendant agreed to plead guilty and was placed on probation for one year.”

New Jersey gun control advocates claim the law is well-intended and should not be changed in response to exceptional cases such as that of Josey-Davis.

“We think the law needs to take into consideration individual circumstances, but it’s still a law that’s for the well being of the people of New Jersey,” said Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Princeton-based group, Coalition for Peace Action, which oversees the gun control project known as “Ceasefire NJ.”

“It sounds like these officers were doing their job,” Moore told “It’s up to the courts to decide some kind of leniency given the circumstances.” 

He added: “We would be against changing the law because of these exceptional circumstances. … That’s one reason you go before a judge. The law itself should not be changed.”

A Christie spokesman confirmed to the governor has received an application from Josey-Davis for a pardon but said he was unable to comment further. 

Yes, the law needs to be changed. In a place like New Jersey, that’s not likely to happen. They’re too much like New York in their irrational fear of civilian ownership of guns.