The right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, enshrined in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution and recognized as such by the US supreme court. But apparently a judge in New Jersey thinks that its perfectly acceptable to deny an individual this court recognized civil right simply because he was once accused of domestic violence. Here I was under the impression that American citizens have a right to due process and are innocent until proven guilty, but apparently a man accused of domestic violence isn’t subject to those same constitutional protections. And now, the judge has ripped another amendment from his bill of rights.
A New Jersey appeals court ruled Wednesday that a Monmouth County man can legally be denied a gun permit because he was accused of domestic violence in the past, even though he was never convicted.
A three-judge appellate panel ruled that both the Aberdeen police chief and a state Superior Court judge were within their authority under New Jersey law to reject the application of a man — identified only as Z.L. — to buy a handgun and keep it in his home.
Z.L. had 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.
The police chief in the Monmouth County township denied the application though Z.L. was acquitted in 1998, the papers say. The chief said the man’s “past history of domestic violence” may be enough to “indicate a public safety concern,” the documents say.
Judge John Kennedy wrote that Z.L. has shown “the potential for violent reaction.”
“The presence of a firearm in such a household enhances the potential for such a reaction to become lethal,” Kennedy wrote for the panel.
“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,” Kennedy added. “The 1998 incident was not isolated or aberrational, as appellant claims.”
New Jersey is one of those states where a permit is required to exercise your constitutionally protected rights, and especially in New Jersey the police have broad latitude when it comes to issuing those permits. So much so that a New Jersey permit is more rare than an empty seat at the Superbowl. I’d love to see this case work its way up the chain, and hopefully get New Jersey’s insane permitting system torn down once and for all. But then again, this is New Jersey we’re talking about, and its usually best to just lock your doors and keep driving through.