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Bristol Military Veteran Slapped With Weapons Charges — Sparks Gun Debate in Court

Edwin Roman

A Bristol man is facing weapons charges after being stopped for a broken headlight in New Jersey.

On December 14 Edwin Roman, 36 who served in the military for eight years, serving two tours in Iraq, is facing charges of second-degree unlawful possession of weapons, fourth-degree prohibited weapons and devices, specifically hollow point bullets, and fourth-degree obstruction.

While speaking with Roman, the officer watched as the driver opened the glove box.

The officer saw items in the glove compartment that looked to be related to a firearm. The officer also found two magazines fully loaded with hollow point bullets and a magazine holder in the glove box.

When the officer searched Roman, the officer found a loaded .45 caliber Springfield XPS handgun in a holster in his waistband.

Police say Roman did not possess a New Jersey permit to carry a firearm but rather only in Connecticut.

In court Wednesday, Assistant Prosecutor Jerome Neidhardt argued that during the motor vehicle stop, which he was able to view on video prior to the hearing, Roman was uncooperative with officers, refusing to give consent to search him and his car, denied having any weapons — he allegedly told officers the guns and bullets were “not weapons,” he said — would not get fingerprinted and refused to give an interview with police.

“Every step of the way he was non-compliant, he was oppositional,” Neidhardt said. “He didn’t comply when the police ordered him to be fingerprinted when they asked him if he had anything on him and he hasn’t complied with any part of the process.”

Neidhardt added, “He’s a sovereign citizen, I believe from his answers today and his interactions with police, he thinks he is a sovereign citizen and he thinks he does not have to come under the rules of the court.”

The term “sovereign citizen” refers to an individual and member of a political movement who opposes taxation, questions the legitimacy of government and believes that they are not subject to the law.

When being sworn in prior to the hearing, Roman gave a mumbled, incoherent statement when asked to say his name and spell it.

In addition, when asked where he was born, he did not immediately answer but settled with, “I was born in America, but I am not an American citizen.”

Assistant Prosecutor Jerome Neidhardt argued that Roman would pose a serious risk to the community and was a flight risk, since he does not appear to have any ties to New Jersey.

In addition, Neidhardt said Roman has eight aliases and a DUI that he accumulated while serving in the military.

In response, Roman’s attorney, Christopher Perry, said he believed Neidhardt had “misrepresented” his client, stating that he believed Roman, while he may not have been cooperative with authorities during his arrest, wasn’t confrontational.

Perry also argued that the charges Roman is facing in New Jersey would have been considered “legal” in Connecticut and that he had no knowledge of the laws in New Jersey.

“He wasn’t someone walking through a mall with a gun on his hip causing a danger to the community,” Perry said.

According to New Jersey state law, out-of-state residents who wish to carry a handgun while traveling through New Jersey with out-of-state permits must keep their weapons unloaded and contained in a closed case, locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported.

He was held in the Sussex County Jail on $50,000 bail without a 10 percent option, set by Superior Court Judge N. Peter Conforti.  Once released,

Roman will be required to check in with the court each week until his trial.

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