Reasons for a Gun Permit Denial in New Jersey
Essex County Gun Permit Lawyers with Offices in Newark, NJ
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution affords citizens the right to bear arms. However, this is not where the story ends. New Jersey has enacted some of the most stringent gun policies in the nation, making it incredibly difficult for New Jersey residents to purchase, possess, or carry firearms. If you wish to do anything with a gun in New Jersey, you likely need a permit. For example, purchasing a firearm requires a permit and carrying a handgun requires yet another permit. Obtaining any kind of gun permit in New Jersey requires you to submit to a thorough vetting process, as you essentially allow the State to probe into your life, your background, and your habits. Many times during the gun permit application process, a citizen has his or her gun permit denied with absolutely no idea as to why.
At the Tormey Law Firm, our attorneys are well-versed in New Jersey gun law and we regularly assist clients with gun-related issues, including the firearms permit process, appeals of gun permit denials, return of weapons hearings related to domestic violence, expungements to obtain gun permits, and criminal defense for those facing criminal weapons charges. Led by Travis J. Tormey, who was recently named among the top 10 Criminal Attorneys in New Jersey by the American Jurist Institute, our highly knowledgeable legal team includes several former gun prosecutors, as well as a former member of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office’s Weapons Forfeiture Unit. We leverage our unique insight to effectively advocate for clients during gun permit appeal hearings in court across New Jersey, including in Essex, Bergen, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties. To discuss your situation with one of our New Jersey gun lawyers today, contact us at (201)-614-2474 for a cost-free consultation.
Why Was Your NJ Gun Permit Application Denied?
In New Jersey, there are a host of reasons why your gun permit application may be denied. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3, New Jersey law outlines the “disabilities” which may prevent a person from being issued a Permit to Purchase a Handgun or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. Your gun permit application may be denied if you:
- Were convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence (regardless of whether or not the offense involved a weapon);
- Are addicted to drugs or alcohol;
- Were confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium;
- Suffer from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for you to handle firearms;
- Knowingly falsify any information on your gun permit application;
- Are under the age of 18 for a firearms purchaser identification card;
- Are under the age of 21 for a permit to purchase a handgun;
- Are a person where the issuance of such a permit would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare;
- Are subject to or have violated a restraining order issued pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, or a restraining order issued in another jurisdiction;
- Were adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device, or is enumerated in New Jersey’s No Early Release Act;
- Are a person whose firearm was seized pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and whose firearm has not been returned;
- Are on the consolidated FBI Terrorist Watchlist;
- Are subject to or have violated an extreme risk protective order issued pursuant to the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act;
- Are subject to or have violated a temporary or final restraining order issued pursuant to the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act;
- Have been voluntarily admitted to inpatient treatment or involuntarily committed to inpatient or outpatient treatment;
- Are subject to an outstanding arrest warrant for an indictable crime in this state or a felony in any other state or federal jurisdiction; or
- Are a fugitive from justice due to having fled from any state or federal jurisdiction to avoid prosecution for a crime, except warrants related to actions involving reproductive health care services that are legal in New Jersey, or to avoid giving testimony in any criminal proceeding.
In order to obtain a Permit to Carry a Handgun, you must also not be subject to any of the aforementioned disabilities.
What to Do if Your NJ Gun Permit is Denied
If your application for a New Jersey gun permit was denied, you have a few things to consider. First, if you were convicted of a crime, you may be eligible for an expungement. By expunging your criminal record, you can wipe the slate clean and apply for a gun permit as if the conviction had never happened. Secondly, if you were institutionalized for a mental illness, you may be able to expunge the commitment in order to obtain a gun permit. With a mental health expungement, the commitment virtually never occurred. Third, if you were previously drug dependent or an alcoholic, you can obtain documentation from a licensed health care practitioner, such as a medical doctor or psychiatrist, stating that you are no longer suffering from the condition.
Gun Permit Appeals
If none of the above measures applies to you and your gun permit application was denied, you are entitled to request a hearing in the Superior Court in the county in which you reside. This request must be made in writing within 30 days of the initial denial. An appeal hearing is a complex legal proceeding, requiring evidence, testimony, and a compelling argument in your favor. Due to the intricacies of this process and the long-term implications, it is highly advisable to enlist an attorney who has experience with gun permit appeals. Our New Jersey gun lawyers have achieved great success representing clients across New Jersey at these hearings.
Is there a Federal Law on Disqualifications for Firearms Permits in NJ?
In almost identical form to New Jersey, federal law prohibits citizens from purchasing a firearm if the individual has a felony conviction or has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense concerning domestic violence. The federal statute is known as the Lautenberg Amendment and was passed into law in 1996 as an amendment to the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968. Additionally, the reason New Jersey law mirrors the federal prohibition is because the federal statute was drafted by Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey U.S. Senator. However, unlike New Jersey, federal law defines domestic violence in narrower terms. It limits domestic violence to acts of violence, threats of violence, or use or attempted use of a deadly weapon. Therefore, under federal law, a conviction for harassment, trespass, or criminal mischief would unlikely qualify as domestic violence, whereas these are considered domestic violence offenses in New Jersey.
Contact our New Jersey Gun Permit Denial Lawyers for Answers
If you are considering applying for a gun permit or recently had your gun permit application denied, the New Jersey weapons lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm can help. With offices located throughout New Jersey, we assist clients across the state who wish to exercise their Constitutional rights. Contact us today at (201)-614-2474 for a cost-free consultation.