New Jersey Legislature Plans to Oppose Easier Handgun Carry Permit Rules
Democratic legislators in New Jersey are poised to do whatever it takes to block Governor Chris Christie’s recent measures to ease handgun carry permits in New Jersey. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) said that going to court “may be the only recourse” NJ legislators currently have available to stop the handgun carry law. Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg stated that a lawsuit was imminent and that Democrats are expected to file suit in Trenton and ask State Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson for an injunction against the new handgun carry permit regulations.
These statements came on the heels of the New Jersey Attorney General’s announcement that regulations were being adopted to allow any “serious threat” against the life of a New Jersey citizen to satisfy the legal requirement of the “justifiable need” to obtain a handgun carry permit in New Jersey. Previously, the standard to get a handgun carry permit required the showing of “specific threats or previous attacks demonstrating a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by other means.” Generally, the interpretation of that requirement meant that almost no one, except former law enforcement officers and current armored car guards, could qualify for handgun carry permits in New Jersey.
Regardless of the requirements to obtain a handgun carry permit, the fact remains that it is illegal to carry a handgun in New Jersey without a permit and it is illegal to transport a loaded handgun, even if you lawfully purchased the firearm in the first place. According to the New Jersey Criminal Code, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, the unlawful possession of a handgun is a second degree crime. Thus, 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. Additionally, the Graves Act sets forth that a conviction for the unlawful possession of a handgun requires a mandatory minimum sentence, without parole eligibility – regardless of the defendant’s prior criminal history.
If you have been charged with a weapons offense, such as the unlawful possession of a weapon, you should consult with the experienced weapons defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm. Our experienced criminal defense team knows how to beat gun crime charges in NJ courtrooms.