NJ Gun Law Preventing Retired Officers From Getting Concealed Carry Permits

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

A New Jersey gun law designed to “[allow] retired police officers to carry concealed weapons” is actually being applied in a way that prevents some lifelong university police officers from getting a concealed license when their tenure is through.

The law was signed in 1997 by Governor Christie Whitman and the administration of the law was placed in the hands of the New Jersey State Police. Because the law does not specifically list university police as among those who can carry concealed weapons beyond retirement, the state police are not granting them carry permits.

According to Newark Star-Ledger, this means a “highly decorated University Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) police sergeant” named John Kotchkowski has been retired five years and subsequently denied the legal status to carry a concealed weapon. Moreover, 48-year-old Robert Dunsmuir is also a retired UMDNJ sergeant and he, too, was denied when he applied for a concealed carry permit.

The law “lists eligible retired police as federal, state, county or municipal officers, sheriff’s officers, corrections officers, park police and county prosecutor investigators.” It also “specifically  includes any former ‘full-time member of a state law enforcement agency.'”

Thomas Roughneen–attorney for Kotchkowski and Dunsmuir–believes both officers were denied due to an interpretation that they were not “working for a state agency” in law enforcement. But Roughneen disagrees, saying, “We’re arguing (on appeals) that clearly they are. How are UMDNJ police not a state law enforcement agency? By that logic, that makes the entire Rutgers police force – which is one of the largest in the state – ineligible. And that flies in the face of the intent of the law, which is to increase public safety.”

In addition to this, Kotchkowski is “an ‘active shooter instructor’ at the Essex County Police Academy, certified by both the FBI and Homeland Security.” Yet the New Jersey State Police did not approve his concealed carry application.

State Police spokesman Captain Stephen Jones says the department is simply “following the statute.” He added, “If the Legislature includes campus police, then by all means, we would be more than happy to approve them.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.