On Monday, a panel created by Governor Chris Christie (R) to review New Jersey’s draconian gun laws released its findings and made recommendations. The New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission called for changes to the state’s onerous gun laws. In particular, the panel suggested expansion of the “reasonable deviation” standard whereby those transporting a pistol may go directly to and from a gun range without making any “unnecessary” stops. This vague and inappropriately applied standard has resulted in the incarceration of several honest, law-abiding New Jersey residents, who later had to plead for clemency.
The panel also urged the Attorney General to address the delays that citizens commonly encounter when applying for a Firearms Identification Card (FID Card), which is essentially a possession permit. It’s common practice for local issuing authorities to arbitrarily take as much time as they choose to issue the document, despite a 30 day limit in state statute. The Commission also flagged the unauthorized conditions and requirements for issuing an FID Card, such as employer or spousal consent, as inappropriate.
Finally, the panel advocated for broadening the state’s “justifiable need” requirement for obtaining a concealed carry permit. Under the current interpretation, it’s virtually impossible for the average citizen to obtain a carry permit. While the suggestions offered by the group are incrementally beneficial, they certainly do not go far enough to make true concealed carry a reality in the Garden State.
We urge the Governor to actively and aggressively adopt these much needed reforms. While these recommendations fall short of fixing all that is wrong with New Jersey’s flawed gun laws, we are encouraged that this represents at least a small step in the right direction and offers a degree of relief to beleaguered New Jersey gun owners at this time.