The Chief said no. You disagreed with their reason. You discussed their refusal with them, or their designee. They stood firm. The reason they gave (if they favored you with a reason at all) is not one that lends itself to “cure,” assuming the reason was legitimate in the first place. And you refuse to just walk away from it. It is time to consider an appeal.

Our FID Denials page discusses the appeals process. More particularly, it discusses appeal procedure, and appeal procedural requirements. Mastery of procedural requirements, however, is only the beginning. To maximize your likelihood of success, you are often well advised to show more than that the chief's decision was wrong; rather, you want to satisfy the judge that reversing the chief's denial is right. The distinction is subtle, but making the first showing does not automatically establish the second.

The original denial will have been for reasons that were either objective or discretionary. If it is an objective denial you are appealing, you must show that the chief was mistaken. For example, if the basis for the denial is that you were convicted of a crime, your burden might be to demonstrate that the conviction was expunged, or that the person convicted was, in fact, someone other than yourself. If the chief previously indicated that but for that dispute over objective facts they would have issued the FID, you may be able to stop there.

Discretionary denials should be handled differently. The most common discretionary denial invokes N.J.S. 2C:58-3c(5): The chief contends that issuance of the New Jersey FID card you seek “would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare”. In this situation, your appeal will give you an opportunity to explain to the judge why the past event or events upon which the chief relied do not justify the denial. You should not stop, however, with just that bare bones showing. Rather, you should present proofs that affirmatively demonstrate that you satisfy, or that you more than satisfy, the requirements for the FID card that you seek.

Another discretionary denial is based upon N.J.S. 2C:58-3c(3)(c). The chief contends that you are an alcoholic. This contention may be based upon one or more past arrests for driving under the influence. Or perhaps police came to your home responding to an incident where alcohol was involved. Here you may be able to demonstrate that the incident was remote in time; or that it was an isolated event; or that alcohol was not what led to the incident. You can present supporting testimony from an alcohol counselor. Again, however, you should present proofs that affirmatively demonstrate that you satisfy the requirements for the FID card that you seek.

The proofs to which Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ refer is testimony of witnesses. These witnesses will be people that have known you over the years. They will be people that have interacted with you regularly. They can be friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They can be the same references you identified on your original application. They can even be family members, although you should not rely exclusively on family members.

These witness will identify themselves and briefly tell the judge a little about themselves. They will explain to the judge how they know you, and the nature of your interactions over the years. Having established that foundation, they will then truthfully tell the judge that you are a person who can safely and responsibly handle firearms. They will truthfully testify that they would be comfortable with being in your presence when you were handling firearms. They will truthfully tell the judge that they would be comfortable if their family members were in your presence when you were handling firearms.

You are not limited in how many such witnesses you can present. One may be sufficient. Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ would generally recommend no more than three.

Allan Marain is a New Jersey gun lawyer. He fights denials of Second Amendment rights. He has been practicing since 1976. In addition to his own practice, he serves as “Of Counsel” to Thomas Roughneen & Associates, Counsellors at Law. He would welcome the opportunity to assist on appeal from denial of your Second Amendment rights.

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