Is N.J. AG Platkin Willfully Allowing Civil Rights Violations and Racial Bias in Carry Permit Scheme?

AP Photo/David Goldman

Garden State citizens have only been repatriated with their right to carry, or bear arms, since the landmark 2022 NYSRPA v. Bruen decision. There’s been an estimated 34,000 plus “post-Bruen” carry permits issued in New Jersey since the decision came down. 


Earlier this year N.J. Attorney General Matthew Platkin released the “permit to carry dashboard,” a site where extensive data can be found on permit applications, issuance, denials, and more. Through that data and several Open Public Records Act requests – the N.J. equivalent of a Freedom of Information Act request – some alarming trends were uncovered. The data points at several civil rights violations and when confronted with this information, Platkin has remained complicit and silent.

The big areas of concern that need to be remedied immediately are:

When Attorney General Matthew Platkin and his press office were queried about these issues, in every instance they responded by stating they decline to comment.

Considering that at the time of uncovering these revelations, April and May of 2024, it's somewhat understandable that the AG wouldn't have had a prepared comment or path forward, but these are severe civil rights violations we're talking about. Since these violations all go against civil rights laws and several Supreme Court decisions, we could have been all but assured that Platkin’s office would expeditiously be working behind the scenes on coming up with a path forward on halting the illegal practices and improving the process.


After waiting some time after seeking comment from – and in the process informing –  the attorney general about the violations that are occurring under his leadership, more OPRAs were filed.

On May 5, 2024 OPRA W217399 was filed. This OPRA request specifically was seeking:

Any and all guidance, correspondence, or information sent to ‘issuing authorities’ (those who issue firearms identification cards, pistol purchasers permits, and permits to carry) from the Office of the Attorney General and or specifically from Attorney General Matthew Platkin […] concerning delays in the issuance of firearm related permits. Also, specifically any guidance where the Attorney General addresses waits that might be considered ‘lengthy,’ as described in NYSRPA v. Bruen [...] and any directives where authorities are to stay within the 120 day time limit.

On May 29, 2024, over a month after the date Platkin’s office was alerted of these excessive delays, April 26, 2024, OPRA W217399 was “closed.”  The OAG Custodian of Records asserted the following in their reply, “Please be advised there are no responsive records identified related to this request."

On May 22, 2024 OPRA W218204 was filed. This OPRA request specifically was seeking:

Any and all correspondence from May 4, 2024 to present, to/from the Attorney General and the Office of The Attorney General about the issue of racial bias being used when denying the issuance of permits to carry a firearm in New Jersey. Correspondence to include any guidance from the Attorney General to issuing authorities concerning the disproportionate rate that Black applicants are denied permits to carry under the subjective standard of N.J. 2C:58-3c (5).


On June 3, 2024, almost a month after the date Plakin’s office was alerted of the racial disparity in denying permits to carry, May 4, 2024, OPRA W218204 was “closed.” The OAG Custodian of Records asserted the following in their reply, “Please be advised there are no responsive records identified related to this request.”

Attorney General Matthew Platkin has sent out zero guidance and issued no directives to permit-to-carry-issuing authorities concerning excessive application delays and apparent racial bias via subjective standard use in permit denials. Platkin and his office were notified of these civil rights violations and in the month + since being notified, he sat on his hands and did nothing. 

On June 4, 2024 Attorney General Plakin’s office was queried on whether or not his office would be issuing any guidance on; excessive permitting delays and racial bias. It was pointed out that nearly a month has passed since being alerted of these severe issues in New Jersey’s permit to carry application scheme. When asked if Platkin had any intentions on addressing these issues or issuing any guidance on them, in both instances, the office stated, “The office declines comment.”

What exactly is going on in New Jersey’s Office of Attorney General is not known. What we can say though is that AG Matthew Platkin seems to not care at all that there are abuses in the permit to carry application process and that there’s apparent racial bias occurring under his leadership. The AG’s lack of guidance to issuing authorities and absence of immediate action on all of these issues makes it seem he’s complicit in these infringements. 


Attorney General Platkin can’t claim ignorance concerning the presence of these abuses. He and his office have been put on notice.

For a full rundown on related articles, source documents, and correspondence please see:

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