Today, Attorney General Robert Lougy announced a series of executive actions to offer a degree of much needed relief for New Jersey’s beleaguered gun owners. In accordance with recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force pursuant to Executive Order 180, the Attorney General outlined points of clarification on several issues that most directly impact New Jersey gun owners. It’s important to note that executive action cannot rewrite state law or existing legal precedent, which ultimately confines the scope of today’s announcement. However, given that limitation, these incremental improvements are significant.
The announcement focuses on three main items, (1)“reasonable deviation” when transporting guns, (2) the rampant permitting abuses in New Jersey, and (3) “justifiable need” for concealed carry issuance.
New Jersey’s gun laws have become notorious for ensnaring otherwise law-abiding individuals who are simply driving with a firearm. Both state residents and unsuspecting non-residents have been shockingly entangled by the state’s hyper technical gun laws, forcing the Governor to intervene and issue clemency.
In New Jersey, unlike the vast majority of states, gun owners are required to obtain a Firearm’s Identification Card (FID) in order to meet the state’s exception for allowing possession of firearms. Although state law requires those permits to be issued to qualified applicants within 30 days, many jurisdictions have openly flouted the law, taking months to issue the permits and adding their own requirements in addition to those prescribed by state law. The same is true of handgun purchase permits. Today’s action would address this situation by requiring issuing authorities to compile data on the issuance of these permits. The reporting will include how many permits were issued and how long it took to issue them.
Finally, NRA has long been critical of the state’s “justifiable need” requirement for concealed carry. Today’s action at least represents an incremental step in the right direction by expanding what “justifiable need” means. Rather than current law’s focus on a specific dangerous threat, the new directive allows for consideration of more generalized threats.
To be perfectly clear, New Jersey still has some of the most Draconian gun laws in the country, and NRA will continue to fight for reform. Today’s action represents, at a minimum, a step in the right direction to incrementally offer relief to New Jersey’s embattled lawful gun owners.