Police: Princeton University Student Had Illegal Gun at Eating Club

A 22-year-old student at Princeton University has been arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a gun.

Samuel Smiddy of Naples, Fla. kept a shotgun at the Clositer Inn, one of the private student eating clubs on Prospect Avenue in Princeton.

Smiddy was arrested Saturday morning, Oct. 22, after a concerned citizen alerted police that he was in possession of a shotgun. Police investigated, confirmed he was in possession of the shotgun at Cloister, and discovered he did not meet the legal requirements to possess the weapon.

He was processed and released, and his court appearance is pending.


    1. To own one, you may not be a “prohibited person” (this is defined primarily under federal law). Legal age, not a felon, not a doper, wife beater, nutjob, subversive, etc. Assuming you’re not a prohibited person, you may possess a shotgun in your place of residence in NJ with no additional legal requirements. If you want to buy one, or drive around with one in the trunk of your car, you generally need a Firearms Purchaser ID card (pain to get). But anyone not otherwise prohibited can keep a shotgun (without registering it) in their place of residence. It is unclear to me why they arrested this guy. NJ firearms laws are sufficiently confusing that even many cops don’t have a solid grasp on them and just arrest first and let the DA sort it out.

      1. I should add that if he had it out on the lawn or somesuch, or did not live at the Cloister Inn, he could indeed have broken the law.

        1. Hmmm, yes. Maybe Planet Princeton can dig in and find out the valid reason for what on the surface seems somewhat arbitrary (none of the characteristics mentioned in Sentence two above being in evidence as it were…).

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