NJ GOP Gubernatorial Debate Features Question On Right To Carry

(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

The Garden State will be having their primary election on June 8th to choose a GOP opponent to run against tyrant Governor Phil “the Bill of Rights is above my pay grade” Murphy. On the GOP ballet are the following candidates: Jack Ciattarelli, Brian D. Levine, Philip Rizzo, and Hirsh V. Singh. This past Tuesday night the one and only GOP debate for the primary was hosted in accordance with New Jersey election law; hosted by NJ101.5 and moderated by Eric Scott. Due to provisions in the New Jersey election law, only Ciattarelli and Singh were eligible to take part in the debate.

Most of the debate discussed taxes and the educational system. However, in the middle of the melee between Jack and Hirsh, someone called in to get the pair to weigh in on firearm related matters. David from Mt. Olive asked the following of the candidates:

If you two gentlemen are the Republican nominee and you win in November, are sworn in January of 2022, will you order the Attorney General’s office of the State of New Jersey to recognize justifiable need for a license to carry a firearm in the state of New Jersey? There is no ambiguity in this question. So I’d appreciate a straightforward answer. Thank you.

To possibly distill David’s question, and the candidates realized what he was asking, more appropriately the question should have surrounded around the statutory definition of justifiable need, and how the executive branch can handle the subject of New Jersey’s infringement on the rights’ of the citizens. The subject is about how no one other than the politically connected or few that do meet work related needs can actually get a carry permit in the state. The candidates sounded off in response.

Jack Cittarelli

We all know currently in New Jersey here it’s almost impossible to, impossible to obtain a conceal and carry license. We also know it takes way too long to get a gun permit. If it was up to Phil Murphy he would repeal the Second Amendment. So I would work with the Attorney General, yes, to ease those restrictions and I also think we need to make steps in the right directions with regard to dangerous professions. I can’t tell you how many times a female realtor has come to me and said how uncomfortable they feel doing an open house all day in a neighborhood  they’re not well aware of. That they would like the opportunity to protect themselves. So, I support the Second Amendment and yes we need to visit this area.

Hirsh Singh

On the very first day as Governor I will use my executive order power to return us to the 1966 right to carry state that we were. I’ll make sure that we fully protect our concealed carry, I will make sure that we fully protect national reciprocity. New Jersey, on the first day of me in office, we’ll have the full restored, re-instituted Second Amendment that we had before and we’re gonna make sure we undo the damage that has been done by the legislature that has run amok and has completely degraded our Constitutional rights. So I would, yes to what your question was directly, but I would go way beyond that, and I’ll do this on day one, I guarantee it. Mark my words. 

Because of New Jersey’s election law, even though Rizzo would have qualified to be in the debate, he was unable to due to a reporting deadline he could not make. In the spirit of fairness, Bill Spadea, also from NJ101.5, interviewed Rizzo after the debate. In the interview, Spadea asked the same exact questions asked of Citarelli and Singh, without Rizzo knowing them in advance. When Rizzo was asked the “justifiable need” question he responded.

Philip Rizzo

Justifiable need is one of the most arbitrary ridiculous things when it comes to the Second Amendment. I believe in the Second Amendment as it’s written in the Bill of Rights and absolutely justifiable need had hindered people from their right to self protect. And that’s been going on far too long in New Jersey. 

Now, as I noted before there are four candidates eyeing the GOP nomination. Brian D. Levine, like Rizzo, was not qualified to take part in the debate. Levine was not afforded another venue to answer the same questions that Cittarelli and Singh did, and Rizzo through the live streamed interview, but in the interest of fairness, I reached out Levine and did have an opportunity to chat with him. I read to him verbatim the question posed by David and he did have an answer for me after clarifying for him what the particulars of the current statute is.

Brian D. Levine

Yeah. Yes, I would. And I keep using the term law abiding citizen…so you know, we’ll see what justifiable need is and I could be just protecting my family. That seems to be pretty justifiable to me. And, I would, and again I’m not a lawyer, so they [the AG] may, he or she may come back and say ‘but x y z’ , and then I’ll say, ‘how do we get to x y z?’  I’m a practical person too, if someone says to me ‘no’,  I say ‘is there a way we can figure it out?’ Other states do it [issue concealed carry permits] and there’s no problems. Some of the people in New Jersey think that it’s a problem, and other states don’t and it’s perfectly fine and safe…doesn’t make sense to me.

There are currently no other plans for a GOP Gubernatorial debate. So if you live in the Garden State, be sure to do your research on who you’d like to tap to take the nomination. The key thing after the primary is going to be staying laser focused on making sure Phil Murphy does not get reelected. Some of the opinions expressed on the Second Amendment may not be popular to advocates, some of them might be. The matter of carry is a big issue, especially in a state that is downtrodden like New Jersey. What we do know for a fact is Murphy will not stop trying to usurp the rights of New Jersey residents and freedom loving citizens must get behind whoever ends up running against him in November.