Former SCOTUS-bound litigant granted NJ carry permit

Seth Perlman

I’ve been following the New Jersey gun rights preservation movement for quite a long time. My first article on the Second Amendment was related to New Jersey in 2015 over at AmmoLand, and my first article here at Bearing Arms was also on the Garden State. That first article of mine that ran here back in August of 2019 is entitled: “SCOTUS Has A New 2nd Amendment Case In Its Sights”, and concerned Cheeseman v Polillo. That case found the same fate that nearly a dozen other Second Amendment cases did in early 2020, that of being denied certiorari. Cheeseman’s prospects to get a permit to carry in the land of 1000 diners were nil after the denial, that is until after Justice Thomas’s most recent birthday. Mark Cheeseman and I had a good chat about him getting issued a New Jersey permit to carry just the other week.

Cheeseman and I have spoken a bit over the last few years, as I’ve been reporting on his every move in the gun rights arena. In our latest chat we talked about him recently applying for and getting his permit to carry, as well as some history, and some future plans.

I applied three times. Once in I believe it was either 2014 or 2015. I was denied for a lack of need. At that point in time, that’s when I started saying, “All right, well, you know, there’s something seriously wrong with this.” Because, number one…other states don’t need to have a need or necessity or anything like that. And I feel I do have a need, what they said I had was generalized fears. I didn’t have urgent necessity. There’s really three parts to the justifiable need statute. If you look at it, one of them has specific threats, the justifiable need, and the third part urgent necessity…you need to have all three, maybe even if you do have all three, they’re more than likely going to deny you on urgent necessity. The second time I applied, and I’m a little sketchy on the date, but I’m pretty sure it was 2016. I knew exactly what I was doing. The only reason I did that application was to appeal it. And I even told the judge that the only reason I’m here is to appeal this, let’s you know, get it over with.

The interesting thing about Cheeseman is that he’s been very dedicated to the cause, and seemingly is a perpetual plaintiff. In the period between his first denial to get a permit to carry and the denial which bore the inception of the Cheeseman v. Polillo case, in 2016, Cheeseman challenged the ban on electric weapons, aka stun guns and tasers, in New Jersey. This was in the wake of the Grant, Vacate, and Remand that Caetano v. Massachusetts had from SCOTUS earlier that year. His case, NJ2AS & Cheeseman v. Porrino was victorious in overturning NJ’s ban.

Sometime in early July, Cheeseman told me that he started his application process for a NJ permit to carry for the third time. He mentioned that he had spent about a week or so, like many of us, gathering everything he needed to apply. Due to the influx of applicants, he had to go out to Pennsylvania to get his fingerprints completed. The process is long, convoluted, and I covered much of it previously. Over at AmmoLand I reported on two confirmed permits, as well as reporting on specific restrictions here, the nightmare of Daniel Francisco’s case, as well as some coverage on what seems to be a conspiracy between counties of RICO proportions to usurp our rights.

It took about two months and just like that, after years of fighting, Mark Cheeseman was granted his New Jersey permit to carry. Unlike permits coming out of Ocean County, or Monmouth (including Francisco’s nightmare order), Cheeseman has a permit that’s only restricted to the firearm(s) that he qualified with. His permit did not include any ridiculous and or unconstitutional restrictions where judges were legislating in infringements from the bench.

I asked Cheeseman now that he’s been issued a permit, what’s coming in the future? We did briefly talk about his “assault weapons” ban case challenging NJ’s semi-automatic rifle prohibitions. But, as far as what our perpetual plaintiff has in mind, what he had to say might surprise many.

The one thing I’ve always been about, and the one thing I will always always be about is something called self-governance, which is people taking legislative action to try to save their rights. And we have this one…bill, I’m sorry, I think it’s a 502. Okay, it’s the sensitive place bill. And I’m telling people, “Look, you got to take a good look at this bill, you have to contact your legislators. Now.…not just yours, but contact all of them. I don’t care, email, phone, whatever, letter, and tell them why this is such a piss poor written bill. It’s a horrible bill and what this bill is going to do, it’s going to restrict our permits right back down to us right into the house…we can’t go to a parade, we can’t go to a public gathering, we can’t go to a stadium, we can’t go to dinner or to a restaurant because they’re serving alcohol. Who says I’m gonna get all drunked up. They don’t know that.

New Jersey is going to pass that bill…And once it becomes law, we’re stuck with it until somebody brings up a lawsuit. Lawsuits are wonderful. They are, but the problem with lawsuits is you need a plaintiff, you need a case. You need an attorney. And they take time. Look how far we’re still playing around with the mag ban case. It’s a good case that should have been done two years ago. But it’s not. Why? Because it got involved in the bureaucracy of the courts. They remanded it back down. It should have been decided a month ago when they remanded it back down. What’s gone on with that? I’m not knocking Bach or Schmutter for that case, not at all.

But this is what I’m saying. We need to stop these bills before they become law. So if there’s any direction I’m gonna go,it’s gonna be that direction…You gotta stop this crap before it becomes law. And people say “Okay, we’ll just file a lawsuit.” Yeah, well, it’s okay. If you’re sitting back and watching it. I mean, try filing a lawsuit. Mine took up three and a half years of my life. Literally, and that’s with what, two or three other guys helping me. You know, lawsuits are good. But while you’re getting your lawsuit together and playing around with the courts, you still have to abide by this law. And this law, if it passes, it’s horrible.

Before letting Cheeseman off the hook, I had to ask him what’s his message to everyone? What would he like our three corrupt branches of government to know?

People have more to lose now then before. It’s imperative that we band together and fight every unconstitutional firearm law before our carry permits are useless. That is exactly what Murphy wants.

Many are enjoying different levels of liberty in New Jersey, making it clear that our right is still being treated like a privilege, and the fight is not over. It brings me joy to know that one of New Jersey’s fighters has finally found some relief that he sought. Hearty congratulations to Mark Cheeseman on finally getting his New Jersey permit to carry. Third time’s a charm.

If you’d like to hear my full conversation with Cheeseman, tune in down below or click HERE.