According to an article on, a Rockaway man was arrested Friday for allegedly firing a handgun in the air in Morristown during an altercation with several other individuals. According to the story, two groups of males got into an altercation at Sona 13 in Morristown and the fight was broken up by police. Later, these two groups reassembled in a different area in Morristown to settle their dispute. Several of these individuals had baseball bats and began fighting. The defendant, after being struck with a baseball bat, allegedly pulled his firearm and fired it into the air. He was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and receiving stolen property.

It is important to remember that the facts of this case do not support a claim for self-defense. If the defendant was charged with aggravated assault for firing the weapon in the air or for pointing the weapon at another and threatening to use it, he could potentially have a claim that these acts were done in self-defense to preserve his own safety after being struck in the head by a baseball bat. However, he is not charged for those actions. He is charged with “possessory” offenses. All the State has to show is that he was in possession of the handgun and that he was not licensed or authorized to be in possession of same. This is a Graves Act offense so the defendant, even with no prior record, is facing significant state prison time.

For additional information, please see the Star Ledger article entitled “Rockaway man arrested for firing gun into air during fight”.