In a little change from the standard news articles we write here at News2A, this is a first-hand account of trying to shed myself of the court order that accompanies my New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun.
I just purchased a brand new Sig P365XL and I intend it to be my new carry gun. After going through the standard New Jersey hurdles of getting a government permission slip to exercise my rights, I started thinking about the next hurdle. I needed to confirm whether or not I could legally carry it. My carry permit was issued by a judge and came with a court order that specifies the guns I may carry. It also specifies that I must carry the two-page court order with me as well.
Several people I know, as well as others throughout the New Jersey firearms online community, have successfully asked their local police departments to re-issue their carry permits as unrestricted so that they no longer need to abide by, or carry, the court order. This potential option sounded quite promising. As one of the earliest carry permit-applicants post-Bruen, I wanted to shed the court order and join the ranks of the unrestricted.
New Jersey is a state that is hostile towards firearms. New Jersey is a state led by a tyrant that hates law-abiding gun owners while letting violent criminals back on the street with no bail. As a lifelong NJ resident, I am all too aware of these things. So, I never make assumptions that it is legal to do something, firearms-related, that is.
While the State cares plenty about the right of a man to get pregnant and the right of minors to play gender roulette, the State is always busy coming up with ways to oppress the law-abiding gun owner. Just about every firearms-related misstep in this state is a crime, New Jersey’s legal term for a felony-level offense. A crime will disenfranchise a person of their 2nd Amendment rights. It is never wise to assume that the state of New Jersey will respect gun rights without being forced to do so.
I reached out to my local police department to inquire as to whether they could re-issue my carry permit as unrestricted as per the recent changes to 2C:58-4. Those changes remove the courts from the carry permit process entirely. As my town is one that respects the rights of the law-abiding, they said they would be willing to honor my request but would need to seek approval or guidance from NJSP. A smart step that helps protect me in the case that I carry a gun outside of my Mayberry-like town.
The New Jersey State Police did respond, with legal precedent from just this past Monday, from the case of State v. Reeves, Docket A-0921-20:
[t]o remove restrictions from a duly issued permit in light of Bruen, it is incumbent upon the permit holder to apply for an unrestricted permit. Defendant could not simply disregard the restrictions imposed by the carry permit issued to him, especially since defendant violated those restrictions long before Bruen was decided.” The panel further stated that “Defendant was obliged to comply with the court-ordered restrictions in the permit that was issued to him. Although Bruen changed the criteria for issuing a carry permit in this State, it certainly did not empower permit holders to disregard judicial orders. The proper procedure in these circumstances, rather, is to apply to amend the permit or apply for a new one.
While this ruling is only binding on the named parties, this is the guidance being put forth by the NJSP to police departments as to the permissibility of re-issuing court-issued carry permits at the local level.
After hearing varying opinions, from a multitude of sources, and now this new ruling by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, I conclude that it would be very unwise to make the assumption that I can carry any gun I want while in possession of a court-ordered carry permit.
Those folks out there that did succeed in having their local police departments re-issue permits may want consult with an attorney to determine if they are running afoul of the law in light of this new March 6 ruling. They may even want to contact those police departments to find out if their position has changed due to this ruling.
I offer this story, not to push people back into restrictions, but to help prevent people from becoming the post-Bruen Shawn Reeves, sans the impersonation of a police officer part. Be safe out there.