- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A man who took a plea deal after he mistakenly left his legally owned gun in his car’s glove compartment was pardoned Monday, becoming the second person this year to have gun charges wiped away by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Steffon Josey-Davis, of North Brunswick, was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon in September 2013 and requested the pardon from the governor in January.

During a traffic stop, he reached into his glove compartment to get his vehicle documents and realized his 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun was also there. He told the officers about the gun, and they seized it without charging him. But when he went to pick it up a couple of days later, he learned he was being charged.

Josey-Davis, fearing as much as 10 years in state prison for violating New Jersey’s strict gun control laws, pleaded guilty to a weapons possession charge and received a year of probation. But the guilty plea barred him from most jobs and derailed his bid to become a cop.

“This is very deserving, and we are very thankful for the governor issuing this pardon,” said Evan Nappen, Josey-Davis’ lawyer. “This is a law-abiding guy whose life was ruined, and now he can start getting it back together.”

New Jersey requires that guns be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gun box or securely tied package or locked in the trunk. The state also imposes strict limits on how and where weapons can be transported, and it doesn’t recognize carry permits issued by other states.

Josey-Davis, who was working as an armored car driver, said he had the gun with him because he planned to go to a gun range with co-workers. He was checking his gun in the family garage when his younger sister entered, and he put it in the glove compartment so she wouldn’t see it.

But he forgot the gun was there and was later pulled over by police.

Christie pardoned a Philadelphia woman in April who faced charges and jail time after telling state troopers she had a handgun and a concealed-carry permit during a traffic stop in Atlantic County in October 2013. In 2010, he commuted the seven-year sentence of a man who was found with guns he had legally bought in Colorado.

Christie has been distancing himself from New Jersey’s gun laws while preparing for a potential run for president. Asked about his commitment to gun rights at a meet-and-greet in South Carolina last week, Christie blamed a Democratic legislature for not respecting the Second Amendment and he pointed to proposed legislation he’d vetoed as well as the pardons.

“Part of what you can do as governor when you have a legislature that’s intractable,” he said, is to use executive authority “to try to right injustices. And I’m trying to do that.”

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