New Jersey’s latest “justifiable need” disgrace is an opportunity for Chris Christie

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Governor Chris Christie’s gun record would be getting more scrutiny if he was polling better in the early states, Save Jerseyans, but if he wants to get some serious attention and punch up his support among conservatives, he now has yet another opportunity to advance the cause right here in New Jersey. 

The aggrieved citizen? Michael Tumminelli of Newton.

h/t NJTV:

The terminology is important.

Shall Issue” states mandate that issuing authorities SHALL grant permits provided the applicant meets basic requirements. “May Issue” states like New Jersey, however, allow local authorities to deny carry permits even if the applicant meets basic requirements. Our state demands that applicants demonstrate justifiable need, or “specific threats or previous attacks demonstrating a special danger to applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by other means.” Here, the Newton Police and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office didn’t believe Mr. Tumminelli demonstrated the Administrative Code standard of “justifiable need” to carry – despite the fact that he’s a DOD official who works with counterterrorism task forces combating ISIS – so he wasn’t granted a permit carry. 

I hope we can agree that THAT is more than a little absurd?

This is where Chris Christie comes in.

He’s right when he says that he can’t unilaterally make New Jersey a “shall issue” state overnight without the legislature. He CAN direct the Attorney General to expand justifiable need. When he signed Executive Order No. 180 back in June, establishing the New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission tasked with reviewing New Jersey’s gun regulations, the Governor simultaneously expanded the definition of justifiable need to include domestic violence victims.

There’s no reason he can’t expand it again to help Michael Tumminelli. It’s the right thing to do and, happily, it’s also politically advantageous. Nice when it works out that way!


Matt Rooney
About Matt Rooney 7823 Articles
MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.


  1. If he can have the AG file a regulatory change that changes the definition of “justifiable need” to include domestic violence victims, he could have done the same to include “self-defense” on his first day in office.

  2. Much of the worst restrictions on firearms ownership in NJ are not in the statutes but in the Administrative Code. Christie can make major changes in how NJ treats guns and gun ownership through simple changes in the Admin Code that do not require a vote by the Dems in the legislature. His first AG made the code more restrictive.

  3. He didn’t change the definition, he created an EO that expedites the process of getting a P2P for women who have or have applied for a restraining order..

  4. I want to thank The Save Jersey Blog for this post. For all NJ residents, I am not the only one. Many citizens are currently working together through the New Jersey Second Amendment Society to fight the ridiculous “Justifiable Need” clause. We are one a handful states left with this unrealistic burden in order to protect ourselves and our families. The Governor has a chance to overturn this and show the country he truly cares about our safety as citizens.

  5. Thank you again for you support, as well as The New Jersey Second Amendment Society. I am not the only, we have many NJ residents who have been denied in the past four months. From all walks of life they have been DENIED.

  6. Thanks so much for bringing this story out. This is a huge problem in NJ and it needs way more attention than it is currently getting. The 2nd Amendment is effectively dead, here, along with all the defenseless victims it should have protected. Time for a change…..

  7. “justifiable need” AND “May Issue” are both unconstitutional, what part of the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. do they not understand?

    Pistols and and other guns capable of firing several rounds existed at the time, see Puckle Gun (1718) The Founding Fathers, did understand technology and new inventions as Ben Franklin was an inventor himself. so the BS that they did not understand such things is ridiculous!

  8. Thank you for your support.The NJ Justifiable need statute puts the burden of proof on the law abiding citizen. When a person is seeking to defend there self this weight of proving justifiable need only puts the person in more jeopardy. The statute does not serve to protect the victim but makes them more vulnerable by slowing down the process and in most cases stopping a person from there right to defend themselves.

  9. EO180 is a baby step in the right direction but expanding the definition of justifiable need to include self defense would prevent people from becoming victims first.
    Regardless Mr Tumminellis denial is absolutely disgusting. This VETERAN and now high level dod worker has been presented with documentation that states he is at risk. Who provided that you may ask? it was the government but that is not good enough for the state.

  10. Justifiable need is a violation of the US Constitution specifically the equal protection clause, and maybe others. Imagine if the First Amendment were limited such that you could only speak in public or express your opinions on the internet under certain conditions, and provided you had prior reason. The entire concept of justifiable need makes no sense. How does any person know that they won’t have that need today or tomorrow or anytime in the future. Why should only those that have been attacked in the past have a right to defend themselves? Imagine if you were only allowed to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers if you could prove you had a small fire in the past and were likely to have one in the future. There would be public outcry how stupid that would be. The same applies to guns in the hands of honest citizens. Then you have the leftwing view that it would just make things the Wild West. Well I know PA is slightly west of New Jersey, but it is hardly wild. There every person who can pass a background check can carry a gun with no conditions and we don’t see mass shoot outs. NJ has this habit of taking away rights claiming it makes us safer, when the exact opposite is the case. Criminals do not comply with background checks, do not buy guns through legal channels and routinely carry them without permits – placing honest citizens at constant risk. Criminals know almost no one in NJ has a gun in public which means they are not afraid to use theirs. If say 10% of the population carried guns the criminals would think long and hard before pulling one out as they would know they would be at risk. NJ needs to change the laws to get tougher on criminals while allowing law abiding citizens to protect themselves the way the Constitution demands.

Comments are closed.