NY Rifle vs. Bruen- How the U.S. Supreme Court changed New Jersey’s law on conceal carry permits for handguns.
Our law firm defends individuals charged with illegal possession of firearms and guns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are very different in that Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” gun permit state, while New Jersey, traditionally, was a “may issue” jurisdiction.
What is the difference between New Jersey & Pennsylvania?
The basic difference is that until recently it was virtually impossible to obtain a permit to carry in New Jersey, unlike Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, anyone over the age of 21 can obtain a permit to carry provided that they satisfy the other requirements as to good character and fitness. In New Jersey, however, this was not the case, as a concealed carry permit was only given if a person could demonstrate a justifiable need or cause for the gun.
What happened in New York State Rifle v. Bruen
In New York, up until June 2022, the permit to carry law was very similar to New Jersey until the case of New York State Rifle vs. Bruen. In that case, the US Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to require an applicant to show “proper cause” to carry a handgun in public. This Supreme Court ruling effectively made New Jersey a shall issue state and a person in New Jersey could obtain a concealed carry permit provided they satisfied the other requirements.
How did New Jersey react to the Bruen decision?
This ruling occurred in June of 2022, but New York State quickly passed gun regulation laws which made it very difficult for a person to carry a handgun even with the permit to carry in that State. New Jersey followed New York and in December of 2022, Governor Phil Murphy signed a gun safety bill to strengthen concealed carry laws in New Jersey.
Under that law, it is not legal to carry a concealed weapon in three (3) categories of “sensitive places” which were defined as follows:
- High density locations
- Entertainment venues including stadiums, arenas, music parks, casinos, racetracks, and publicly owned libraries and museums.
- Youth sporting events and other recreational facilities such as parks, beaches, and playgrounds
- Bars, restaurants where alcohol is served and any other location that serves alcohol.
- Airports and public transportation hubs
- Locations with populations
- Schools, colleges and universities
- Daycare and childcare facilities.
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities.
- Long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
- Correctional facilities.
- Homeless shelters
- Locations with government and First Amendment activity
- Polling places, Courthouses.
- Law enforcement stations and offices.
- Government buildings and locations with government meetings.
- Demonstrations, protest, and licensed public gatherings.
In addition to these places, the bill also states that a gun cannot be carried on a private home, including homes, businesses, stores or houses of worship unless the property owner expressly communicates permission through express consent or signage.
The law also expanded the ineligibility list for a carry permit to include the following:
- A person with an outstanding arrest warrant for indictable offenses.
- Persons subject to a restraining order.
- Persons subject to restraining orders in other jurisdictions.
- Persons subject to voluntary admissions to mental institutions.
Finally, the bill required that all permit carriers maintain proof of liability insurance with coverage for at least $300,000 to cover injury, death, or damage to property arising out of ownership, operation of firearms. The bill also increased the permit application fee from $25.00 to $2,000.00.
Graves Act – New Jersey’s Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
New Jersey has done its best to discourage gun ownership through this gun safety bill strengthening law despite the Bruen decision. All the mandatory minimum laws under the Graves Act remain, despite the Bruen decision. This is very important! If you are found in possession of a gun or firearm without a permit to carry, you face a mandatory minimum sentence (42 months).
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