NJ Court: Gun Permit Can Be Denied for Domestic Violence Accusation

AP Photo/Dave Martin
AP Photo/Dave Martin

On April 22, a three-judge appellate panel from the New Jersey Superior Court ruled that a domestic violence accusation–that did not result in a conviction–is sufficient grounds for denying a resident a gun permit.

The identity of the resident was kept anonymous, and reports refer to him simply as “Z.I.”

According to NJ.com, Z.I. wanted “to buy a handgun and keep it in his home.” He “applied for a permit in 2013, but a background check revealed that he was arrested in 1998 on a domestic violence charge and that police had been called to his Aberdeen home on five other occasions, according to court papers.”

Z.I. was acquitted of those charges in 1998, yet upon applying for a gun permit, the police chief handling Z.I.’s application suggested his “past history of domestic violence” may be enough to “indicate a public safety concern.”

Z.I. appealed the rejection and told the court he had, indeed, “struck his wife in the 1998 incident but stressed that it was accidental.” He then pointed to the court documents showing he was acquitted of the charges.

But Superior Court Judge John Kennedy wrote:

The presence of a firearm in such a household enhances the potential for such a reaction to become lethal. Even if an applicant was previously charged with an offense, but not convicted, in a later permit hearing the chief may still present to the court the evidence underlying the charges. The 1998 incident was not isolated or aberrational, as appellant claims.

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