Post-Bruen permits to carry confirmed in New Jersey

(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

Just neighboring New York, in New Jersey, the citizens are reaping the benefits of NYSRPA v. Bruen. The irony of course is that the order from the High Court was directed at New York and two of the three branches of government (so far) in the Empire State are thumbing their noses at it. Not sure how things were going to shape up in the Garden State, many were surprised to learn that the acting Attorney General had sent out guidance quickly in the wake of the decision, where he stated the “justifiable need” standard was being abolished in practice. That guidance, from what we can understand, came in part by the hard work of groups like the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC), and allowed a near seamless transition.  While we can count on New Jersey being up to games in the future on permitting, right now, they’re running under the same system they’ve had, sans the need to show a special purpose for a permit to carry. Permits to carry are being issued in the state and I spoke to two confirmed recipients who were willing to go on the record.

The important thing to note, I’ve only confirmed the issuance of two permits to carry, but there are many more. Given the sensitive nature of this topic, especially in a pinko safe haven like New Jersey, not too many people were willing to go on the record on the topic. All the keyboard commandos out there that are running their mouths about how I only spoke to two people and confirmed the issuance of two permits to carry need to realize the formerly mentioned, as well as the fact that just one person being confirmed represents hours of work. There are many more than just two permits that have rolled out in New Jersey, just not verified by me via interview, inspection of issued permit, and agreement of recipient to go on the record. I’m sure that ANJRPC or another group will aggregate some statistics when they’re available. As of now, we have no statistics to point to.

The guidance that was sent from the state in the way of “instructions” was not great, do review them though. But enough of a skeleton in the instruction was there, in addition to guidance from attorneys like Evan Nappen, people were able to apply and get issued their permits.

In the instances involving the two individuals I spoke with, they both went to their local ranges for advice on how to apply. RTSP in Randolph, and Gun For Hire at The Woodland Park Range in Woodland Park, both set up detailed instruction pages for people to follow, as well as their recommendations on how to have applicants show they have a familiarity with firearms and exhibit firearm safety.

Many ranges and training companies are offering up their own modified version of the retired police officer qualification to meet this need, and there is no uniform standard at this time. For example, RTSP requires applicants to shoot at targets as far out as 15 yards at an FBI “Q” target. Gun For Hire more closely mirrors the state police HQC2 course of fire, with the course requiring shooting out to 25 yards, and they also use an FBI “Q” target.

The only uniform thing that I’ve read and seen to date is there are no guarantees. Because the process worked for these two applicants, does not mean that everyone will have similar results. Many ranges training companies are stating that whatever qualification they administer, there’s no takes backsies on training/quals that are not accepted. Until everything is ironed out, applicants are submitting in hopes of the application and their proof of proficiency is going to be respected by the issuing authorities. The fact is, many issuing authorities have never put an applicant through this process themselves, and have no clue how to do it.

Some jurisdictions are issuing “restricted” permits, where only the firearm(s) qualified with can be carried by the permit holder, and some jurisdictions are respecting the law as written and not restricting a permit holder. The conflict comes in how the statute is written and the code. They differ a bit and there’s no guidance available to reference to readers and applicants on how this is to be handled.

The statute reads:

NJ 2C:58-4. Permits to carry handguns

  1. Scope and duration of authority. Any person who holds a valid permit to carry a handgun issued pursuant to this section shall be authorized to carry a handgun in all parts of this State, except as prohibited by section 2C:39-5e. One permit shall be sufficient for all handguns owned by the holder thereof, but the permit shall apply only to a handgun carried by the actual and legal holder of the permit.

The administrative code on showing an applicant meets the qualifications is what creates a murky situation:

13:54-2.4 Application for a permit to carry a handgun

(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 may 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;
  3. Completion of a course or test in the safe handling of a handgun 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; or
  4. 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.

Given the avenues available, only the recent qualification is noting a specific firearm must be used and then subsequently the inference to be the firearm being listed on the permit. Again, there’s little to no guidance noting that permits are to be restricted for civilian applicants and those that are not job related.

Restricting these permits is unconstitutional. Yes, this is an infringement on people’s Second Amendment right, and at the time of the founding, such a regulation would not be accepted. This practice needs to go.

The first person I spoke to was Jamie DeAngelis. DeAngelis lives in Warren County, in Hackettstown, New Jersey. DeAngelis dropped off his completed application on July 26th and received his permit to carry on August 12th. The permit to carry he received was not restricted to any specific makes or models of firearms. DeAngelis followed the guidance set out by RTSP. DeAngelis described to me the steps he took to assemble his application packet after fulfilling RTSP’s suggested training:

  1. Application printed duplexed (on both sides) in triplicate, with live signatures from each reference on each application. All three applications with live notarization of the applicant’s signature on each one. From # S.P. 642
  2. Consent For Mental Health Records Search filled out and signed in the presence of the issuing authority. Note, that some people have been having issues with this form and opening it in a web browser. If that’s the case, download it onto the computer and open it with whatever pdf viewer is installed. Form # S.P. 066
  3. An affidavit stating lawful ownership of the firearms intended to be carried. Instead of a letter listing the firearms with the make, model, and serial number, an applicant can use their pink copies of pistol permits or receipts to prove ownership of the handguns.
  4. The $50.00 certified money order was made out to “Treasurer, State of New Jersey.” (Make sure it’s signed before handing it in)
  5. Color copies of driver’s license and birth certificate. Instead of a birth certificate, applicants can bring passports or naturalization paperwork to prove citizenship, along with their driver’s license.
  6. Four 1.5″ x 1.5″ photos. These are called “passport photos”; however, passport photos are 2″ x 2″. It was noted that the correct size if trying to have someone look up the information at one of the many locations that provide this service is an Argentina-sized passport photograph.
  7. The certified qualification, along with any other training certificates an applicant may have that are relevant.

Keith S. from Passaic County was the other person I spoke to. Keith asked to go only by the first initial of his last name for privacy reasons. Keith followed the guidance set by Gun For Hire at The Woodland Park Range, and did their qualification program. Keith’s completed application packet and confirmation of fingerprints being done was submitted on July 1st. Keith got the call to pick up his permit to carry on July 18th. While Keith provided ample evidence that he’s proficient in the use of firearms in the way of many course certificates, a passing certified qualification, he was issued a permit restricted to only the firearm(s) he qualified with. But, none-the-less, Keith did receive his permit to carry, and quite expeditiously at that.

There are some towns and counties that seem to be slow rolling the process, but right now it’s too soon to know if all of them are up to unconstitutional games. We can’t assume malice when incompetence/inability might be at play. Through the permitting Strike Force, ANJRPC’s brilliant leaders and attorneys Scott Bach and Daniel L. Schmutter has caused many jurisdictions to fix their ways when they sent issuing authorities cease and desist letters. If you are applying for a permit to carry in New Jersey and are experiencing issues with your jurisdiction, you can reach out to ANJRPC about it HERE: [email protected]

What was once an impossible unicorn to obtain, the New Jersey permit to carry, we now have people pouring in reporting that they’re getting their permits. The ability for Garden Staters to get their permits to carry so quickly after the NYSRPA decision was handed down was no accident. The work that was put in from those at ANJRPC is worthy of note and do consider supporting them. These two permits that were confirmed to be issued to recipients who agreed to go on the record are emblematic of 2A activism, and only represent a small fraction of the number of permits to carry that have been granted.

New Jersey is slowly being liberated.