How The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on New York’s permit to carry law will change New Jersey’s conceal carry handgun permit law
The United State Supreme Court in a recent decision (6-3) overturned New York’s previous permit to carry law which is very similar to New Jersey’s law. Currently in states like Pennsylvania it is much easier to obtain a permit to carry a handgun. New York’s gun law had been in place since 1913 and specifically requires a “proper cause” to obtain a concealed handgun permit
What was New York’s gun law and what did the Supreme Court do?
New York, like New Jersey, does allow permits to carry handguns, but it was virtually impossible (before June 23, 2022) to obtain one given the process. In New York, similar to New Jersey, the applicant must show a “justified” need for the gun and a Court must approve the application. In most situations, the permit isn’t issued.
The Court’s decision, however, makes New York process unconstitutional. It is now only a matter of time before New Jersey’s system is challenged in Court given the Supreme Court’s decision. New Jersey, unlike Pennsylvania, is a “may issue” State and people must, at this point, provide a justifiable need as to a specific incident or current threat to obtain a permit to carry. Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state.
How will New Jersey lawmakers react to the Supreme Court’s Decision
Following the Supreme Court’s decision New Jersey’s acting Attorney General, Mathew Paltkin, issued a statement indicating that the Garden State would continue to enforce the State’s policy with regards to permits and gun laws (Graves Act). New Jersey imposes a mandatory minimum state prison sentence for unlawful gun possession. This means that New Jersey’s current handgun permit law is still in effect and all other requirements for obtaining a permit to carry apply.
New Jersey lawmakers, however, have already indicated that the Garden State will need to alter its current state law given the Supreme Court’s decision. Senator, Ed Durr (Republican-Gloucester) has proposed a bill that eliminates the justifiable need requirement to obtain a permit to carry along with eighteen (18) hours of training, handling and maintenance of hand guns to obtain a permit to carry.
Pennsylvania, unlike New Jersey, regularly issues permits to carry unless there is something in the applicants background which indicates that they do not possess the proper character or responsibility to obtain the permit.
What is New Jersey’s Graves Act
New Jersey maintains one of the toughest in gun laws in the United States under its Graves Act. Remember that your gun permit, even from a bordering state like Pennsylvania or New York is not valid in New Jersey. If you cross the bridge into New Jersey with a gun without a license for it, you are committing a very serious crime. The main statute covering the unlawful or illegal use of a firearm is known as the Graves Act. This law, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(c), imposes a mandatory minimum state prison sentence for the following crimes:
- Unlawful possession of a machine gun, hand gun, riffle, or shotgun
- Possession of a sawed off shotgun
- Possession of a defaced firearm
- Possession of a firearm while in the course of committing a drug distribution or possession
- Possession of certain weapons by a person previously convicted of a specified offense
If you are convicted under New Jersey statute 2C:39-5(b), you are guilty of a second degree offense. A judge has no discretion and must sentence you to a term of 5-10 years in New Jersey state prison. You are ineligible for parole for at least three years and so you have to serve the minimum of three years of this sentence. If it is your second attempt you are looking at a 5-10 year mandatory minimum sentence with no parole eligibility until that 5 year minimum.
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