by Mike Deem
A new procedure has amended the application process for gun carry permits.
In December 2022, Governor Murphy signed A479/S3214 into law which lays out new procedures for carry permit applications for handguns in New Jersey. This new procedure removed the state’s judiciary from the initial permitting process, following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Prior to the United States Supreme Court’s decision, New Jersey law required submission of an application to a law enforcement officer, including a written certification of “justifiable need.” A Superior Court judge would then approve the application and issue the permit.
Although the new law established a list of places where, even with a carry permit, guns are prohibited and increased application and registration fees, the new law states that “showings of particularized need are no longer legally viable to determine whether a person may carry a handgun in public.” This subjective, “justifiable need” standard had been applied in six states throughout the Country and was coined by the U.S. Supreme Court as “may issue” licensing laws. These “may issue” licensing laws provided local authorities with discretion to deny concealed-carry licenses even when the applicant satisfies the statutory criteria, usually because the applicant has not demonstrated cause or suitability for the relevant license.” The Supreme Court deemed these “may issue” licensing laws to be unconstitutional.
Under the new law, applications for carry permits will no longer be made by the judiciary. Law enforcement alone will receive, investigate, and determine all applications, according to the notice to the bar. For any pending applications before the Superior Court, judges may only rely on prior approval issued by law enforcement. However, the Superior Court will continue to hear appeals in cases of law enforcement’s denial of applications.
New Jersey’s new law prohibits concealed carry in a list of high-density locations, and places with vulnerable populations. The bill also made a default rule that prohibits carrying firearms on private property, such as in homes, businesses, stores, and houses of worship, without express permission.
R.C. Shea & Associates, 244 Main Street, Toms River, New Jersey 08754. (732)-505-1212.