Newark, NJ – A Republican congressional candidate is seeking criminal charges to be brought against said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, who broke the law when he picked up a rifle at a press conference.
Menendez (D-N.J.) was at a press conference in March at the Essex County Public Safety Academy and was standing next to Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, according to Politico.
“I don’t believe this is what you need to go hunting. I don’t believe this is what you need to defend yourself,” Menendez said, according to Politico. “The only thing this does is kill as many people in as short a time as possible.”
But when Menendez, a Democrat who represents New Jersey, picked up the rifle, he broke the law, according to Steve Lonegan, a Republican who is running for office for the 5th Congressional District.
“Someone who does not have a firearms permit, someone who does not own this firearm cannot pick it up and carry it anywhere,” Lonegan said in a YouTube video he posted April 13. “Bob Menendez is not above the law.”
Lonegan said a New Jersey law states that anyone in possession of a rifle or shotgun without first obtaining a firearms purchaser identification card is guilty of a third-degree crime.
Michael Soliman, the campaign chairman for Menendez, said that Lonegan’s claim was “absurd and pathetic.”
Gun rights attorney Evan Nappen told Politico that even holding a gun for less than 20 seconds without a permit technically violates the state gun laws.
“Our laws are narrowly enforced. These things are narrowly construed. There’s no exemption under the case law for the temporary transfer,” Nappen told Politico.
Nappen said that possession of slingshots or a broken BB gun without a permit would violate New Jersey law.
Lonegan said the Essex County College police didn’t allow him to file a complaint, so he said he will file a complaint against Menendez with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.