A New Jersey Superior Court judge has ruled that Steven Hopler, a blind gun collector from Rockaway Township who unintentionally shot himself while cleaning a gun could keep his collection. However, Hopler must keep his six handguns stored in a safe pending a further evaluation of his alcohol use.
Hopler has been allowed to keep his NJ firearms ID card but can only fire his weapons while in the presence of an adult trained in the use of firearms.
After the unintentional shooting prosecutors sought to bar Hopler from owning weapons arguing that he stores his guns in an unsafe manner and that he kept weapons "unsecured throughout his house" and "negligently shot himself."
The judge said he had just been made aware of a 2003 incident in which Hopler pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being ejected from a bar when he was extremely intoxicated. "My concern is whether Mr. Hoples uses alcohol," said the judge.