Lawsuit Filed to Block New Handgun Carry Permit Regulations in NJ
As expected, New Jersey State Democrats have filed a lawsuit in an effort to block Governor Chris Christie’s recent regulations that make it easier to obtain a handgun carry permit in New Jersey.
On April 3, 2017, the Democratic Legislature filed a complaint in the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, challenging the validity of new handgun carry permit regulations. As part of the filing, the Legislature asked the court to suspend the new regulations from taking effect until the outcome of the case. In response to the lawsuit, a spokesman from the Governor’s office declined to comment, citing Governor Christie’s earlier remarks that he would fight against the Democrats’ anticipated opposition and that he expected to prevail in any legal challenge.
The challenged handgun regulations that were recently adopted by the Attorney General’s Office allow any “serious threat” against the life of a New Jersey citizen to meet the legal requirement of the “justifiable need” required to obtain a handgun carry permit. Previously, the legal standard to obtain a handgun carry permit in NJ demanded the showing of specific threats or previous attacks demonstrating a special danger to the applicant’s life that could not be avoided by other means. This essentially meant that practically no one, except for armored car guards and former law enforcement officers, could qualify for handgun carry permits in New Jersey.
New Jersey handgun carry laws, regardless of the eligibility requirements for a carry permit, are very strict – even if you meet the requirements for a permit, you must have a valid carry permit in order to legally possess a handgun outside of your home or business. Pursuant to the New Jersey Criminal Code, specifically N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b), the unlawful possession of a handgun is a second degree crime. Pursuant to the sentencing guidelines, a guilty conviction for the unlawful possession of a handgun can result in a sentence of 5-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Moreover, the Graves Act establishes that regardless of the defendant’s prior criminal history, a conviction for the illegal possession of a handgun requires a mandatory minimum sentence, without parole eligibility.
The bottom line is that if you are charged with a weapons offense in New Jersey, such as the unlawful possession of a handgun, you should consult with the experienced firearms defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm.