On December 21, Governor Chris Christie (R) released a statement supporting the clarification of New Jersey gun laws and the expansion of what qualifies as a “justifiable need,” as it pertains to reaching the threshold for being issued a firearm carry permit.
Christie’s statement came in response to the findings of the New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission, which he created in June via an executive order.
The commission recommended “changes to expand the ‘justifiable need’ standard for the issuance of firearm carry permits.” This “justifiable need” clause arose from the fact that the Second Amendment is not viewed as a sufficient cause for concealed carry in New Jersey. Those who wish to carry must apply to the state for permission, and the state grants permission based on whether the applicant shows a need that makes carrying a gun a necessity, in the state’s opinion.
The commission also recommended “clearer guidance for the transport of lawfully-owned firearms.” The goal of this recommendation is to prevent high profile arrests of law-abiding gun owners, such as Shaneen Allen, who have been arrested in New Jersey for simply transporting their guns from one location to another or have been arrested while transporting their guns through the state in what they assumed was simply a matter of driving from point A to point B. To help prevent such arrests, the commission wants “the Attorney General [to] issue a Directive providing guidance, including specific examples, for what constitutes a ‘reasonably necessary’ deviation while transporting a firearm.”
Lastly, the commission recommends “bringing fairness and uniformity to the processing of firearms applications.” This includes calling on “the Attorney General of New Jersey [to] issue a Directive to local police departments and the State Police identifying a uniform set of criteria for the consideration and processing of firearm permit applications, consistent with current state law.”
While none of these recommendations represents a repeal of the laws that continually ensnare law-abiding citizens and/or limit the exercise of their Second Amendment rights, they do, at least, call for New Jersey’s strict gun controls to be set forth with greater clarity. And, in the case of the “justifiable need” clause, may expand the list of what a state views as acceptable to justify concealed carry.
Christie commented on the recommendations, saying:
New Jersey’s extraordinarily strict and expansive gun control laws and regulations have given rise to rules and restrictions that are complicated and unfair to law abiding New Jerseyans. … Our citizens have the right to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. New Jersey citizens should be permitted to defend themselves and not encounter unlawful delays and impediments. The work of the Study Commission is thoughtful and strikes at the heart of these issues. I thank the members for lending their expertise and experience with these issues, and for providing a set of recommendations that I am proud to wholeheartedly embrace.
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