2A News: Christie Administration issues regulatory change to liberalize “Justifiable Need” standard

By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog

On Friday, Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced a regulatory change to the issuance of a carry permit in New Jersey.

gunThe terrible tragedy involving Berlin resident Carol Bowne last summer was a jarring example of a permitting system that had failed and needed to be reexamined and fixed. Likewise, I have seen far too many instances in my time as governor of otherwise lawful gun owners facing severe criminal penalties when they have no intent to violate the law in the routine transport of their lawfully owned firearms,” said Governor Chris Christie in a statement.  “Building on the work of the Study Commission, my Administration is taking important, concrete steps today to address those loopholes and inequities and deliver relief and assurance to New Jerseyans exercising their Second Amendment rights that their constitutional rights will be protected and respected in New Jersey.” 

Governor Christie signed Executive Order No. 180 in June 2015 to provide for expedited gun permits for victims of domestic violence following the murder of Camden County’s Carol Bowne. Today’s actions are designed to liberalize the controversial “justifiable need” standard for the issuance of New Jersey gun permits, but the Administration stopped short of adopting a “shall issue” stance favored by gun rights advocates.

Details regarding the rule change (as explained by the Administration) are below the fold…

A Regulatory Change For A Handgun Carry Permit To Align And Harmonize The Definition Of “Justifiable Need” With New Jersey Supreme Court Standards:

·                Published in the New Jersey Register on March 7, 2016, the regulatory amendment will provide greater objectivity, consistency, and clarity in the application of this standard.

·                The regulation adds “serious threats” to the circumstances that could demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life – including evidence of serious threats that are not directed specifically at an individual but which establish more than mere generalized fears or concerns – that a private citizen may specify in a written certification of justifiable need submitted with an application for a permit to carry a handgun.

·                The amendment also clarifies that the issuance of a permit to carry a handgun can be based on a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by other “reasonable” means, rather than by “any” means, as the regulation currently provides.

A Guideline On The Reasonably Necessary Deviations In The Course Of Travel Exception For Transporting Firearms In New Jersey:

·                Currently, the law allows a limited degree of deviation in the course of travel when an individual is lawfully transporting a firearm. People may transport a firearm that is unloaded and properly stored and in prescribed circumstances without a carry permit: to and from their home and business, hunting, shooting ranges and while moving between residences.  New Jersey law allows, but does not define, “reasonably necessary” deviations in the course of that direct travel.

·                The Study Commission found a lack of clarity in the statute that creates a risk of disparate and inconsistent application by law enforcement.

·                The Attorney General is providing guidance through this directive to law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure the law is administered uniformly throughout the state.  The directive sets forth a balanced approach for law enforcement and prosecutors to employ to determine whether a deviation in the course of direct travel between two points with a lawfully-possessed firearm is “reasonably necessary,” considering the nature, purpose and extent of the deviation from the firearm owner’s direct route.

·                While not an exclusive list, some examples of stops or detours in the course of travel to or between locations that would qualify as reasonably necessary include: collecting and discharging passengers; purchasing fuel, food and beverages, medication, or other needed supplies; using a restroom; contending with an emergency situation; or driving around a traffic jam.

A Directive For Uniform Statewide Practices And Procedures For Issuing Firearms Purchaser Identification Cards, Handgun Purchase Permits, And Permits To Carry Handguns:

·                The Study Commission’s report noted complaints by firearm permit applicants about variations in the practices and procedures used by licensing authorities issuing Firearms Purchaser Identification Cards, Handgun Permits and Carry Permits, including processing delays well beyond the 30 days prescribed by law and the imposition by some licensing authorities of application requirements that exceed the state permitting statute.

·                The Attorney General directive requires licensing authorities simply to follow the law by processing permit applications in a timely fashion and limiting application requirements to those prescribed by statute.

·                To increase transparency in the permitting process, the Directive requires licensing authorities to submit, annually, data on the number of ID cards and handgun purchase permit applications filed and processed per month over the year, and the length of time it took to process those applications.  These statistics will be posted annually on the Division of State Police web site.

·                The directive also envisions a more efficient and consistent application process, requiring the State Police, within 9 months, to develop and disseminate to licensing authorities standard protocols promoting best practices for reviewing, investigating and acting on applications for firearms purchaser identification cards, purchase permits and handgun carry permits.

·                Finally, the Attorney General will consider how new technology might streamline the processing of permit applications by directing the Superintendent of State Police, within 45 days, to convene a study group and report its findings to the Attorney General within 180 days of the group’s first meeting.

Regulations Change:  http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases16/Proposed-Amendment_NJAC_1354-24_Reg.pdf

Guideline:  http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases16/Transporting-Firearms_Guidelines.pdf

Directive:  http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases16/Permits-to-Carry-Firearms_Directive.pdf

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3 thoughts on “2A News: Christie Administration issues regulatory change to liberalize “Justifiable Need” standard

  1. All of this is pointless gum-flapping. After Gov. Pantload leaves office and a Democrat becomes the next governor of New Jersey, watch how quickly these feel-good measures are rescinded.

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