Who Approves Concealed Carry Permits in NJ?
The Supreme Court’s decision in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022) demanded changes from states like New Jersey in order to comply with the decision. In response to the need to reformulate New Jersey’s laws regarding carrying a gun, the state adopted a new law which, among other things, revises the requirements for individuals who wish to obtain firearm purchaser identification cards, permits to purchase handguns, and permits to carry handguns. Among other critical changes, New Jersey has modified the manner in which gun permits get approved, empowering state and local police agencies with increased authority in handling concealed carry permits. The Superior Court then issued a directive in accordance with the new law that places approval of permit applications solely in the hands of law enforcement. This means that if you want to apply for a concealed carry permit in New Jersey, the local or state police decide whether your application is approved. However, the Superior Court still makes decisions about gun permit appeals.
Before, Superior court judges reviewed permit applications and approved them only upon a showing of necessity. An applicant certified their justifiable need as part of their application, and a law enforcement officer either approved or denied it. Upon approval, law enforcement forwarded the application to the Superior Court for review and approval. Now, law enforcement handles applications as per Directive 14-22, issued in late December of 2022. This means law enforcement alone reviews and approves applications for carry permits, which now must include four character references of disinterested persons. Additionally, the police must interview endorsers and applicants to evaluate an applicant’s potentially harmful conduct toward self and others.
The police also filter applications for those ineligible to carry concealed weapons or own, purchase, or possess a firearm. Those disqualified individuals may have outstanding arrest warrants, felony convictions, domestic violence restraining orders against them, or a history of mental institutionalization or treatment, among other reasons. Additionally, those who the police banned from owning a handgun or those admitting they want to harm others or property with a gun may not be granted permits.
Keep in mind, when law enforcement denies applications to purchase, possess or carry a firearm, Superior Court judges handle appeals. To appeal a rejected application, the applicant must file their paperwork requesting a hearing within 30 days of the denial, preferably electronically, and then serve the request to the county prosecutor, New Jersey State Police Superintendent, and the local chief police officer.
Directive 14-22 also addresses the pending applications during the transition to the new by allowing judges 60 days to approve the pending applications that law enforcement has already approved, with the authority to rely on law enforcement approvals to process them.
In sum, the new directive for approving firearms applications allows people to get an answer from law enforcement, as opposed to waiting for police approval and then superior court judge approval before their permit is issued. The streamlined approval timeline through local and state police agencies cannot be presumed to be faster when it comes to concealed carry permitting, however. In fact, more firearms applications may burden the system and cause lag time for background checks and interviews.
Remember, an applicant for gun licensing in New Jersey must still apply with all the necessary information and supporting documents to get any kind of permit for a firearm. The state requires endorsements from disinterested people and proof of firearm safety training, among other documents and background checks. Despite the carry permit barrier removal, an applicant must still be eligible and know how and what to file with law enforcement to get or carry a firearm.
If you intend to apply for firearm licensing, you should contact an NJ attorney who is thoroughly informed and knowledgeable about the old and new laws. You do not want a denied application because you are unprepared to answer the application questions and supply the necessary proof. Our New Jersey firearms rights lawyers can help you avoid the pitfalls that may cause a delay in processing or approving your application. We know what is important to support your application, and we can counsel you on what to gather, assemble, and supply in efforts to prove your eligibility. And if you plan to apply for a carry permit, be sure you understand where you can and can’t carry a gun in New Jersey and what it means to carry and transport it properly. With vast knowledge and resources in the realm of gun laws in New Jersey, we can thoroughly explain the requirements and the current gun restrictions.
An attorney at our New Jersey law firm can also assist you with an appeal should law enforcement deny your application. You may have to face a judge, and you do not want to be caught off guard without a well-formulated strategy and solid representation. Talk to a gun lawyer at our NJ offices when you want to apply for a firearms permit. There is so much we can do to save you time, stress, and confusion. We can also prepare the right approach to an appeal if your application has been denied. Call (201) 614-2474 or contact us online for a free consultation today.