Is justice blind? Sometimes. And so is New Jersey resident Stephen Hopler, a gun collector and enthusiast from the Garden State. (Hat tip to Warner Todd Huston.) Or at least he was until the local authorities decided that a blind guy shouldn’t have weapons. Then things began to look ugly, at least for those who could see.
A blind gun collector can keep his gun permit and will have the weapons previously seized from his house by police returned to him, following a judge’s order handed down Friday in Superior Court in Morristown.
Steven Hopler, 49, of Rockaway Township won the latest battle in an ongoing war over his Second Amendment rights. The Morris County Prosecutor’s office had asked Judge Thomas Manahan to revoke Hopler’s firearms ID card and seize all guns in his possession, arguing Hopler abused alcohol and posed a danger to others by being a gun owner.
Hopler’s attorney, Gregg Trautmann, said, “First it was, ‘He can’t own guns because he’s blind.’ Now they tried, ‘you’re a habitual drunkard and we think it’s improper because you’re a habitual drunkard.’” .
You’d think for the police and the courts to step and and stomp on Mr. Hopler’s second amendment rights that he’d have had to done something terrible, like… shoot somebody. Well, in a way you’d be right.
The most recent legal scuffle began in 2008 when Hopler, who became legally blind as a result of diabetes in 1991, shot himself in the shin while cleaning one of his guns.
This is a tawdry story all around. But it looks as if the judge has looked over the evidence and found that the man has never done anything to harm others or indicate that his second amendment rights should be abridged. His permit will be restored and he can go back to collecting as he chooses. It’s certainly a long time overdue, but this looks like at least one story of a happy outcome in New Jersey.