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New Jersey Firearm/Handgun Permit Appeals

September 4, 2014

If you have been denied a NJ firearm Purchaser ID Card or a Permit to Purchase a Handgun, call my office for a free consultation with an experienced gun rights attorney.

New Jersey has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. However, under the United States Constitution, you have the right to own a firearm, plain and simple. The process of obtaining a permit to own or possess a firearm or handgun in New Jersey can be cumbersome. Local police chiefs are responsible for approving such permit applications. They frequently violate New Jersey law in denying these applications. You need a gun permit in New Jersey to obtain a firearm. The first step is preparing your gun permit application and submitting it to your local police department. If you have been denied a permit to purchase or possess a firearm/handgun, contact a New Jersey gun appeal lawyer.

Legal Issues

The NJ State Legislature has unequivocally stated that all New Jersey residents are eligible to apply for and receive a New Jersey Firearm Purchaser Identification Card (“FPIC”) or Permit to Purchase a Handgun (“PPH”). To be legally denied, the applicant must meet one of the specifically enumerated disqualifying criteria.

The burden of proof is actually on the police department, not you. In other words, you are presumed eligible for a FPIC and PPH. The state must prove otherwise. If denied at the local level, you can appeal to the county Superior Court.

The governing statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3 provides, in pertinent part:

“No person of good character and good repute in the community in which he lives, and who is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this section or other sections of this chapter, shall be denied a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card, except as hereinafter set forth. No handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall be issued to individuals who meet the following excluding criteria.”

Disqualifying Criteria

  1. You must be at least 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card. The age requirement for a PPH is 21.
  2. There is a restraining order against you.
  3. If you have been convicted of any crime. By “crime,” this means indictable or felony. A felony conviction for any offense will be a complete bar to obtaining a firearm. In addition to felonies, a disorderly persons offense can also disqualify you. This applies to disorderly persons (misdemeanor) convictions involving domestic violence. It does not matter whether a weapon was used in the domestic violence offense.
  4. Juvenile convictions for unlawful weapons possession.
  5. Drug addiction and alcoholism. Any person who has been hospitalized for drug dependency or suffers from substance abuse or alcoholism can be denied. This can be overcome if you establish that you have been rehabilitated. The best way to do this is through the testimony of a psychiatrist or other professional.
  6. Suffering from a “physical defect” or disease can also be a disqualifier. This applies to any such condition that would make it unsafe for you to handle a gun. This also applies if you have been committed to a mental hospital.

Final Catchall Disqualifer

NJ law also contains a final catchall provision commonly cited by the state. The law states that a FPIC or PPH should be denied to “Any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare.”

This is obviously a very broad and vague standard. Its goal is to prevent firearms from coming into the hands of dangerous individuals. Under this portion of the statute a court is allowed to even review and consider dismissed criminal charges and complaints that were ultimately dismissed. While the past can therefore be used against you, the standard is whether you are fit now, not at some previous time in your life.

Experience Matters

I have successfully argued firearm denial appeals in several NJ counties. If you have been denied a FPIC or PPH, call my office to discuss your best options with an experienced NJ gun rights lawyer.

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