On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, struck down the “justifiable need” requirement in New York's law. New Jersey then conceded that it could not enforce its own “justifiable need” law as written.

New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2022-07 instructed law enforcement officials to stop enforcing the “justifiable need” requirement that for decades prevented law abiding citizens from lawfully carrying firearms to protect themselves and their loved one. At the same time, however, Gov. Murphy issued Executive Order 299, ordering all levels of New Jersey government to find and impose all possible means to thwart or limit implementation of the Bruen decision.

The New Jersey Legislature enacted L.2022, c.131. Very courageously, in Koons v. Reynolds, Civil No. 22-7464(RMB/EAP), Judge Bumb in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey issued a temporary restraing order enjoining the enforcement of major portions of that enactment. That litigation continues.

carry permit for handguns lawyers in New Jersey
N.J.S. 2C:39-5b(1) requires that in order to lawfully carry a handgun, it is first necessary to possess a permit to do so. Persons seeking obtain such a permit, however, run into Section 13:54-2.4 of the New Jersey Administrative Code. As explained in the message box above, federal law has largely invalidated major portions of N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4. The regulation itself remains on the books, although the “Justifiable Need” provision is unenforceable. Here is what it says, in its entirety:

N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4 Application for a permit to carry a handgun

(a) Every person applying for a permit to carry a handgun shall furnish such information and particulars as set forth in the application form designated SP 642. The application shall be signed by the applicant under oath and shall be endorsed by three reputable persons who have known the applicant for at least three years preceding the date of application, and who shall also certify thereon that the applicant is a person of good moral character and behavior. Applications can be obtained at police departments and State Police stations.

(b) Each applicant shall demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the safe handling and use of handguns by indicating in the space provided therefor on the application form, and on any sworn attachments thereto, any relevant information. Thorough familiarity with the safe handling and use of handguns shall be evidenced by:

1. Completion of a firearms training course substantially equivalent to the firearms training approved by the Police Training Commission as described by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6j;

2. Submission of an applicant's most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified firearms instructor; and

3. Passage of any test in this State's laws governing the use of force administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified instructor.

(c) The information in (b) above shall be accompanied and validated by certifications of the appropriate instructor(s).

(d) Each application form shall also be accompanied by a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun, which shall be under oath and which:

1. In the case of a private citizen shall specify in detail the urgent necessity for self protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun. Where possible the applicant shall corroborate the existence of any specific threats or previous attacks by reference to reports of such incidents to the appropriate law enforcement agencies; or

2. In the case of employees of private detective agencies, armored car companies and private security companies, that:

i. In the course of performing statutorily authorized duties, the applicant is subject to a substantial threat of serious bodily harm; and

ii. That carrying a handgun by the applicant is necessary to reduce the threat of unjustifiable serious bodily harm to any person.

(e) The completed application together with two sets of the applicant's fingerprints and fees as established by N.J.A.C. 13:59 in accordance with N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.5 et seq., four photographs (1 1/2 x 1 1/2 square), a consent for mental health records search form designated SP 66, and a permit fee of $ 20.00 payable to the County Clerk where the permit is to be issued shall be submitted to the chief police officer of the municipality in which the applicant resides, or the Superintendent:

1. If there is no full time police department in the municipality where the applicant resides; or

2. If the applicant is a non-resident of this State or if the applicant is an employee of an armored car company.

N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4 is an obscenity. N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4(b)(1) is analogous to saying you cannot carry a first aid kit in your car unless you have first graduated from medical school. And show us your grades. And give us certifications from your professors.

Under N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4(d)(1), you must first be wounded or killed before you can defend yourself or your family. Your life may be threatened. Your family's lives may be threatened. Too bad. New Jersey says you cannot defend yourself. And you cannot defend your family. New Jersey's answer: Call a cop. Yeah, right. Call for help from a cop and call for a pizza delivery at the same time. See who arrives first. You can be sure that the person who threatens you or your family never complied with N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4. They benefit from New Jersey's refusal to recognize Second Amendment rights. They benefit because they know that absence of Second Amendment rights in New Jersey means you are less likely to be able to protect you and your family.

Combining sophistry with circus-quality judicial gymnastics, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4 against a Second Amendment challenge. The case that upheld N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4 was Drake v. Filko, 724 F.3d 426 (3rd Cir., 2013). As rationalization for the “specific threats or previous attacks” hurdle (see N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4(d)(1), above), Drake stated, “presumptively lawful regulatory measures are exceptions to the Second Amendment guarantee.” In other words, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a State regulation that directly violates a Constitutional amendment because it is a State regulation. Characterizing this State regulation as “lawful” totally begs the question. One can only marvel at the Third Circuit's amnesia concerning the Supremacy Clause in the United States Constitution. The Supremacy Clause states:

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

A second rationalization the Third Circuit invoked was that regulatory prohibitions of this nature are “longstanding.” Thus, because a constitutional violation has endured past a certain (unspecified) threshold of time, the violation must be permitted to continue forever. Sophistry of that magnitude has to be respected.

“Exhibit A” in this grotesque state of affairs is the tragedy of Lauren Kanarek. Lauren was a dressage rider. For two years her trainer was one Michael Barisone. Barisone took to bullying Lauren. She was afraid. Aware of her inability to protect herself, Lauren complained to the police. She sought their protection. Several times. Any police response that may have ensued was totally ineffective. Finally, on August 8, 2019, Barison shot Lauren in the chest. Twice. New Jersey's restrictive and unconstitutional laws do indeed prohibit you from appropriately protecting you or your loved ones, as they did for Lauren Kanarek.

Gun lawyers in New JerseyChallenges to N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4 can arise in either of two situations. The first situation occurs when a person has been criminally charged with possession of a handgun. The second situation is when the person has not been charged, but wants a carry permit.

The first situation involves a traditional criminal defense. The criminal defense lawyer's arsenal contains many tools for such occasions. These tools can include entrapment, suppression of illegally obtained evidence, and simple failure of the State to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ handle cases of that nature.

The second situation is completely different. It begins with an administrative application to the local police department. When that application is denied, you appeal to the court. The hands of the lower level courts have been completely tied by past decisions of higher courts. That changed, however, on June 23, 2022. On that date, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The Bruen decision struck down New York's own law regulating carry permits. New Jersey's law had many similarities to New York's. As a result, and as indicated in the text box at the top of this page, New Jersey's “justfiable need” requirement is gone. New Jersey is doing all that it can, however, to compensate for removal of the “justifiable need” requirement by issuing with a vengeance new requirements.

A case filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey was Bennett v. Davis, Case 1:20-cv-15406. Plaintiffs in that matter included the Second Amendment Foundation, and the New Jersey Second Amendment Society. On May 12, 2021, the court administratively dismissed that case in anticipation of the Bruen decision, then pending in the United States Supreme Court. Gun Lawyers in New Jersey™ are confident that future litigation will be needed to enforce the Second Amendment protections provided by Bruen.

Stay tuned.

 Overview  |  Allan Marain  |  Where We Stand 

 FID Applications  |  FID Denials  |  FID Appeals  |  FID Delays  |  FID and COVID-19 
 FID Public Safety  |  FID Address Change  |  Guilt by Association  |  In the Home  |  Transporting Guns 
 Police Safekeeping  |  Carry Permits  |  Mental Health Recs  |  Mental Health Law  |  Disability Relief 
 Young People  |  Expungements  |  Domestic Violence  |  Restraining Orders  |  BB Guns 
 Pepper Spray  |  Moving to Jersey  |  The Graves Act  |  Criminal Defense 

 Case Evaluation  |  Your Arrest History  |  Editorial  |  Helpful Links  |  APA Position  |  Your Privacy 
 Contact Us  |  PGP Public Key  |  FFL Newsletter  |  Directions  |  How Did We Do?  |  Parking