How Do I Obtain a Firearms Purchasers Identification Card in NJ?
Although the Second Amendment allows for citizens to bear arms, the individual states have the authority to determine not only who can possess a firearm, but the procedure they must go through before they can lawfully own one. It should be no surprise that New Jersey has some of the strictest procedures, as well as gun laws in the Country. In order for a resident to lawfully purchase a firearm in New Jersey, regardless of whether it is a rifle, shotgun or handgun, they must first obtain their Firearms Purchasers Identification Card (FPIC). To obtain a FPIC the resident must first make fill out the New Jersey Firearms Application and submit it to their local police department. As part of the application, the individual will be required to provide two references who are non-family members and allow for a mental health records search to be conducted. Once the application is submitted it will be up to the Chief of Police of the town where the application is filled to determine whether or not the individual will be provided their FPIC. If it is granted, the individual will eligible to purchase a rifle or shotgun with the FPIC. However, if the individual is granted a FPIC and they wish to purchase a handgun the must first obtain permit to purchase a handgun. The individual need to go through the same process of obtaining the FPIC. If the Chief of police decides to deny an individual a FPIC, the individual will have the ability to challenge the Chief’s decision in Court.
Can I be Denied a Firearms Identification Card in NJ?
As stated above, the Chief of Police has the authority to deny an applicant their right to obtain both a FPIC or a permit to purchase a handgun. That authority is granted under NJSA 2C:58-3(c), which states in pertinent part that, “No person of good character and good repute in the community in which he lives, and who is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this section or other sections of this chapter, shall be denied a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card except as hereinafter set forth. No handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall be issued:
- To any person who has been convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence;
- To any drug dependent person, to any person who is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, or to any person who is presently an habitual drunkard;
- To any person who suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him to handle firearms;
- To any person under the age of 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card and to any person under the age of 21 years for a permit to purchase a handgun;
- To any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare;
- To any person who is subject to a restraining order;
- To any person who as a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device;
- To any person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991”.
Some of justifications above are rather straightforward, such as being subject to a final restraining order, having previously been convicted of a crime of domestic violence or being under the lawful age but the majority of them are subject to the discretion of the Chief. That is why our laws allow for individual’s whom have been denied their second amendment rights to challenge these decision in Court. By far the most common “justification” we see being sited to by a Chief of Police is “the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare.” This is extremely broad and often times can be abused when it comes to being a justification for the denial of a firearms identification card.
How to Challenge a Rejected Firearms Permit Application in Monmouth County
An individual who is denied a permit to purchase or a firearms identification card will be entitled to challenge the Chief of Police’s decision in Court. The applicant must request a formal hearing, in writing, within thirty days of receipt of the denial. Once the hearing request is received, the Court will set a formal date for the hearing, which typically occurs within 30 days. Prior to the hearing the Chief of Police, typically via the County prosecutor, will be required to provide any and all information that they used to make their decision. This could include background checks, mental health records, negative information obtain via the two references provided. At the hearing it will be the prosecution’s burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that one of the eight enumerating justifications under NJSA 2C:58-3(c) apply. These hearings are often very complex as they are testimonial hearings, as such we strongly urge that you consult with an experienced attorney prior to appearing at the hearing.
Gun Permit Denial Lawyers in Monmouth County NJ
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we absolutely understand the frustration most feel when they are denied their right to bear arms in New Jersey. Not only does New Jersey has some of the harshest gun laws in the Country but they also have some strictest requirements in order to just lawfully purchase as firearm. If you have been denied the right to purchase a firearm or been denied a firearms identification card in Monmouth County, in towns like Wall Township, Middletown, Holmdel, Manalapan, Freehold, Ocean Township, Long Branch, Highlands, Hazlet, Millstone or elsewhere, we can help. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation today, please contact our Middletown office at 732.858.6959. One of our attorneys would be glad to sit down with you and go over all your options.