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New Lawsuit Filed Over New Jersey’s May Issue Concealed Carry Permit Denials

New Jersey Attorney General Gubir Grewal Ghost Gun Control Phil Murphy

courtesy nj.com

By Theresa Inacker

The NRA, the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC), the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners (CNJFO), and three individual plaintiffs have filed a federal court case against the Attorney General of New Jersey, the Superintendent of New Jersey State Police and others for their failure to issue permits to carry handguns in the state.

In a federal complaint filed today by Daniel Schmutter of Hartman & Winnicki, P.C., Plaintiffs allege a deprivation of their civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, looking for the court to declare that New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments and is therefore, devoid of any legal force or effect.

In the complaint filed in federal District Court, it is stated:

“according to New Jersey, an ordinary citizen must establish specific threats or previous attacks which put him or her in special and unavoidable danger to obtain a permit from the State to carry a firearm in public. That restriction is akin to a state law concluding that the general desire to advocate for lawful political change is not a sufficiently “justifiable need” to exercise the right to free speech, and it cuts to the very core of the Second Amendment, no less than such a restriction would gut the First.”

It is often said that in New Jersey, your choices are to become a victim, or a felon; a Hobson’s choice.

New Jersey’s gun law statutory scheme works in a negative fashion, because it forbids any person to possess any handgun unless exemptions are met, pushing the burden on the gun owner to prove s/he meets the exemption. In reality, permits to carry are rarely ever given.

Right now, the exemptions allow keeping or carrying a firearm in or about your place of business, residence, premises or other land owned or possessed by you, but not the carrying of a handgun in public. Violating this ban on carry is a crime in the second degree, punishable by between five and ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $150,000.

In order to qualify for a carry permit in the Garden State, an applicant has the burden of proving “justifiable need” which is met only if the applicant can “specify in detail the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks, which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by reasonable means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.” New Jersey’s Supreme Court has determined that general fears for personal safety are inadequate.

New Jersey arguably has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. Various lawsuits have been brought against New Jersey for its unconstitutional schemes, including the case of Rogers v. Grewal in which Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued his epic dissent, criticizing the Court for failing in its duty to address the violations of civil rights.

Attorney Daniel Schmutter said:

“When the Supreme Court declined to hear our right-to-carry lawsuit Rogers v. Grewal last term, several Justices strongly dissented from that decision.  With a new Justice seated on the Court this term, we hope this new lawsuit presents an opportunity to vindicate the fundamental Second Amendment rights of New Jerseyans and all Americans.”

A copy of this Complaint, Mazareh v. Grewal,  can be found here.

 

Theresa Inacker, an attorney and Second Amendment advocate, is a member of the US Supreme Court bar, the New Jersey delegate to The DC Project, and is a Board Trustee and Communications Director for The Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners.

 

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    I want to go on record as not liking the new format for ttag. If it ain’t broke……

    The only thing ttag needs to fix is the number of obvious trolls derailing the conversations.

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      I’m with you jwm. And I can’t reply to you. Good luck Joizee…

    2. avatar David says:

      I’ll second that. The new format sucks.

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        Well someone went and Effed up a perfectly good website.

    3. avatar beefeater says:

      Don’t know how it looks on desktop, but I’m definitely not a fan of the new design on mobile (which is how I access the site 100% of the time).

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        It sucks. The font sucks.

    4. avatar Ron says:

      Yeah I’m gonna pile on here. I miss the old set up. It was old school but it was clean and simple.

    5. avatar Ragnar says:

      New format sucks ! Please, no one asked for “change”.

    6. avatar TFred says:

      Did they announce the change? If so, I missed it.

    7. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

      Add me to the list.
      This new layout is s**t.

      Articles look like ads, ads look like articles. You have to scroll down AND sideways to see the stories. Some links have pictures, others are just text. Bold vs. regular fonts all over the place.

      What a mess, that I will probably now visit less often. Clean and simple (like before) works just fine.

    8. avatar Wumingren says:

      I want a “block troll” button, like that at Disqus. TTAG ought to switch to Disqus!

      1. avatar Ron says:

        No, you don’t want that either. Disqus is ran by the leftist elite.

    9. avatar Mark H says:

      Agreed. The new format is absolutely terrible. I’m on a desktop.

    10. avatar Michael says:

      It was never great to begin with.But as for the story at hand i think Murphy is a Communist that isnt abiding by his own sworn duty to abide by,protect as well as defend our Constitution and not shred it! The man takes his entire family on vacations over seas on the Tax Payer dime as well as stating on National T.V. that he thinks that only law enforcement and the military should be permitted to have firearms! This man is a Traitor that needs to be removed from office along with all of his appointees and other elected/crooked politicians/officials!!! If it just so happens that a Biden Admin walks into the White House I will never submit or abide by any laws/restrictions or policies that a fraudulent Presidency would impose or try and force on the people! As it is not there are many large groups of patriots and regular citizens alike that are new guns owners preparing to fight against an fraudulent Government and Communism,to keep our freedoms and rights!!!!!! I will be proud to call me their countryman!!!%

    11. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      I agree. The pictures with the articles are actually distracting. I liked the simplicity of the old format.
      I do like the ‘reply box’ in the new location. I can see who I’m responding to. Sometimes I forget.
      Maybe the “notify me of follow-up comments” will work now. Sometimes I ask a question and can never see the responses.

  2. avatar Thomas Giglia says:

    I’m encouraged to see that they are using the 14th amendment as well as the 2nd amendment in this case. Section 1 should be used in all of the cases where individual states are making there own gun laws.

  3. avatar TFred says:

    So this will be a test of my theory that with the transition from gun-hating Ginsburg to pro-rights Barrett, the defendants in these kinds of cases will do whatever it takes to avoid a nationwide precedent-setting loss at SCOTUS.

    Depending on how the lower court rulings go (US District Court for New Jersey >> Third Circuit Court of Appeals >> SCOTUS), look for the defendants (the State of New Jersey, in this case) to either accept a loss, and replace their “may issue” scheme with some sort of a “mostly shall issue” scheme, or if they win and the appeal is accepted by SCOTUS, look for them to hastily change the law on their own, just as the City (and State) of New York did in the NYSRPA case.

    I suspect New Jersey will win at both the District Court and the Court of Appeals, since there does appear to be prior precedent for “may issue.” Watch for these cowardly courts to say “Hey, it’s been fine before, who are we to overturn it?”

    No matter what happens, you can be sure it will take years to fully resolve, and the defendants will delay as aggressively as they can, hoping for a Thomas vacancy, and a Biden-appointed replacement.

    1. avatar TFred says:

      Regarding the prior precedent, the complaint addresses it on Page 6:

      “Plaintiffs acknowledge that the result they seek is contrary to Drake v. Filko, 724 F.3d 426 (3d Cir. 2014), but, for the reasons explained in Rogers v. Grewal, ___ U.S. ___, 140 S. Ct. 1865 (2020) (Thomas, dissenting) and Wrenn v. District of Columbia, 864 F.3d 650 (D.C. Cir. 2017), that case was wrongly decided. They therefore institute this litigation to vindicate their Second Amendment rights and to seek to have Drake overruled.”

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      As noted by Fred, the issue has previously been decided, and the trial court as well as the circuit court are bound by that prior precedent. So this will go quickly in the trial court, may face delays in the Circuit court, and may make it to the Supreme Court in two or three years after the complaint is dismissed and the dismissal affirmed.

    3. avatar MarkPA says:

      “. . . look for the defendants . . . to either accept a loss, and replace their “may issue” scheme with some sort of a “mostly shall issue” scheme, or . . . to hastily change the law on their own, just as the City (and State) of New York did in the NYSRPA case.”

      Good insight; I think I agree. The organizations (NRA, SAF, and state organizations) need to plan this out. What we need is a holding by SCOTUS that “May Issue” and “Mostly-Shall-Issue” isn’t Constitutional. The goal to get to is that IF a state won’t go Constitutional-Carry then the MOST they can do is Shall-Issue. I.e., they have to spell-out in black-letter law the qualifications for a permit.

      Now then, the states will try to raise the bar by requiring, e.g.: high fees; high live-fire qualifications; long application periods; tests on the law of self-defense; training courses; and the like. That’s good-enough.

      Our response will be to continue to attack each such requirement. E.g., can we live with a fee of: $5; $50; $500; $5,000? If a fee for a carry permit of $500 is Constitutional then is a $500 fee for a marriage license Constitutional? That will become the issue for SCOTUS. And so forth.

      Eventually, we will have to live with a fee of $5 or $50. A live-fire qualification. A test. Training. Eventually, there will be enough CWP holders that they achieve the normalcy of driver’s licenses. Thereupon, there will be the political force to reduce the fee from $50 to $25 or $25. Reduce the qualification score, test, training.

      1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

        As far as tests on the law, when Utah was popular as a non resident option for reciprocity reasons there were classes all over preparing people to pass Utah’s test. In my profession there are test prep classes for all of the credential and sub credential exams. If NJ were to require such a test you
        classes would quickly pop up to prepare people for it.

        Also, Ill add my vote against the new TTAG format.

    4. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Now then, the states will try to raise the bar by requiring, e.g.: high fees;…”

      Attacked via the ‘poll tax’ precedent. You have an *outstanding* idea with the ‘marriage license’ idea, the right to carry in public should cost no more than it does to get ‘hitched’.

      “…high live-fire qualifications;…”

      I could live with that, provided the test can not exceed the training requirements for cops on the street. (A big bonus there is, if they up the standards, the cops will have to be able to shoot as well as the carrying public. A beautiful way to meet the ‘Well-regulated militia”. They will know how to shoot straight, and what end of the gun the bullet comes out of.)

      “…long application periods;…”

      30 days maximum, maybe.

      “…tests on the law of self-defense; training courses; and the like.”

      Can be dealt with the same as high school students get driver’s education, in high school. Bundle it in with a senior civics class about the constitution.

  4. avatar GS650G says:

    -10 for the new website look.

    As for Josey, well this is what you get when you allow small violations of the USC to bloom and take root. The current tyrant of the Garden State is pissed people aren’t cooperating with the China Flu tracing scheme as he locks down churches and keeps the stores open. One doesn’t enrich the state so we know where the priority lay.

    Guns are a special problem for the People’s Republic of New Jersey. They don’t want ordinary folk to own them but the very Constitution they are a part of says they can. So they do what any good Statist does and that’s ignore the law. Don’t like it? Too bad.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    343,739 WuFlu cases and 17,083 WuFlu deaths in New Jersey. The state doesn’t dare to publish it’s annual medical malpractice death statistics. But the G babbles incessantly about climate change and guns.

    It’s called “misdirection,” and it works very well to fool the impressionable mouth-breathers who populate the Garden State.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      NY isn’t far off by proportion………or underlying issues.

  6. avatar Alan says:

    “justifiable need”, in plain English means exactly what, and by the way, justifiable to whom, and on the basis of what. In plain English, New Jersey is, like some other jurisdictions, a Police State. I wonder as to the following. Why have the federal courts sat silently by while Constitutional Guarantees are made hash of,and for how much longer will this fiasco carry on?

    1. avatar onestab says:

      Don’t hold your breath.

  7. avatar Dave says:

    Like every other challenge in NJ the courts will ignore the constitution and decide the state has the right to violate the 2A. I’m glad they’re trying but have zero hope this will go anywhere.

  8. avatar endDClies says:

    The new format is horrible. Who decided to change something that worked? New and improved is not always improves.

  9. avatar onestab says:

    Memory is something I try not to forget.

  10. avatar Mike H says:

    Will someone finally crack the May Issue shell already?

    (PS: The new look is outstanding, is an industry standard, and probably helps to drive traffic to less visited parts of the website. Gunfolk are a crotchety set of whiners when it comes to newfangled things. They’ll adjust.)

  11. avatar Huntmaster says:

    The new format is terrible. The search process for reviewed gunsi is even worse. Who decided it needed to be changed? This site has a phenomenally loyal following. Why would you just totally change it overnight?

  12. avatar Robert says:

    Hmmmm. Kinda’ sounds like Maryland!

    1. avatar Mike H says:

      Which is why I – selfishly – care about this one. I know full well MD ain’t happening unless another state gets crushed. But I think some of the earlier commenters are right. If it looks like NJ is going to be defeated, they’ll pull a fast one to change the legislation and undermine the case to keep Shall Issue from spreading to the rest of the country.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Difference is it will be harder to moot with an annoyed 5-4 court.

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