Lawsuit seeks change to New Jersey’s tough gun permit process
Several pro-gun groups are taking aim at New Jersey's strict gun laws with a federal lawsuit challenging both the state's carrying law and application process as being out of reach for the average person.
Current law prohibits anyone without a permit from carrying and the state does not recognize permits issued by other states. The application to carry in New Jersey is a tough process that requires the approval of both a local police chief and a Superior Court judge.
The suit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, New Jersey Second Amendment Society and two citizens, Stanley Bennett and Michael Hucker, claims New Jersey's laws violate the Second Amendment by making it difficult for an "average citizen" to get a permit.
"The right to bear arms must be available to all citizens, not just a privileged few,” SAF Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said in a statement. “Like other rights protected by the Constitution, that right is not limited to the confines of one’s home."
Bennett was denied a handgun permit by Clayton police Chief Andrew Davis in July because of a lack of a "justifiable need," according to the complaint in the case.
In 2018, Hucker listed "justifiable reasons" with his application including carrying cash in his job in the real estate business and the wish to accept guns from his father, a New York state resident, that he cannot legally accept until he has a permit, according to the complaint. His application was also rejected by Guttenberg Officer-in-Charge Juan Barrera for the same reason.
Both plaintiffs said they could not afford an appeal to meet the "justifiable need" standard, which is nearly impossible for the average person to meet.
Davis, Barrera, Guttenberg Public Safety Director Robert D. White, State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs in the case want to be approved for permits. They lawsuit also seeks the requirement for a Superior Court judge to approve an application to be ruled unconstitutional.