GPDO Commonlaw Spouse
Still nowhere near where it should be, but much better than it currently is.STATEMENT
This bill, the "Citizens' Protection Act," revises and simplifies the procedures for securing a permit to carry a handgun in the State of New Jersey.
Under the provisions of the bill, an applicant for a permit to carry a handgun would be entitled to that permit so long as he can demonstrate competence with a firearm and is not statutorily disqualified. To demonstrate that competence, the applicant would be required to include, as part of his application for the permit, a copy indicating his successful completion of a firearms safety or training course or class offered by a law enforcement agency, an educational institution, the military, or the National Rifle Association. An applicant who holds a permit to carry is deemed competent and need not submit such evidence.
Among the disqualifications set forth in the bill are the statutory disabilities which currently prohibit an individual from obtaining either a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card: a crime involving controlled substances; a condition involving chronic and habitual alcoholic or drug abuse; or some other physical or mental condition or disease which would make it unsafe for the individual to obtain a permit to carry a handgun.
The bill also extends the term during which a permit to carry remains valid. At present, a permit to carry remains valid for two years; under this bill, a permit would be valid for five years.
Finally, the bill deletes subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:39-2 which provided that with regard to any firearm permit or license, an individual was deemed to be in violation of the law "until he establishes the contrary." This approach is inconsistent with traditional American legal jurisprudence and, therefore, should be ended.
In its current form, the law governing the issuance of permits to carry a handgun requires an applicant to demonstrate to the Superior Court a "justifiable need" in order to obtain a such permit. The court's interpretation of what constitutes a "justifiable need" makes it virtually impossible for citizens of New Jersey to obtain permits to carry.
The "right-to-carry" can serve as a significant deterrent to crime. An analysis of the nation's 30 "right-to-carry" states has revealed a significant reduction in crime in those states compared with the national average. For example, aggravated assaults are 19.4 percent lower in "right-to-carry" states; robbery is 38.4 percent lower; homicide is 37.9 percent lower; and handgun homicide is 41.1 percent lower. In California, where the "right-to-carry" is permitted in certain counties, a comparison of the crime rates in those counties with those which do not permit their residents to carry reveals lower crime rates in the "right-to-carry" counties. Similarly, Florida has experienced lower crime rates since enacting its "right-to-carry" statute. The homicide rate in Florida has dropped 22 percent; the handgun homicide rate is down 29 percent. Finally, even convicted robbers have indicated that if they suspected that a potential victim might be armed they would probably look for someone else to rob.