In June of 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major victory to gun rights advocates, striking down New York's concealed carry law. The New York law dated back nearly a century and required those applying for a handgun license to demonstrate an urgent or pressing need to carry them in public. But how will the downfall of New York's law affect gun laws in the state of New Jersey? New Jersey has some of the nation's toughest gun laws, and many cities and counties also have local ordinances. As a result, the New York Rifle case will undoubtedly have a ripple effect on gun laws in our state.
In the New York case, New York Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, stated that the 2nd Amendment protects “an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” The ruling struck down New York's requirement that individuals applying for a concealed carry permit must show “proper cause” by demonstrating “a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”
New Jersey Gun Laws
New Jersey is one of eight states with a “may issue” concealed carry permit law. Under current law, applicants for a carry permit must show a “justifiable need.” New Jersey law defines “justifiable need” as an “urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.” N.J.S.A. § 13:54-2.4(d) (2007).
New Jersey's law requires “justifiable need” rather than the “proper cause” of the New York law, but the definitions are somewhat similar. Both New York and New Jersey's laws effectively limited concealed carry permits to retired law enforcement officials and private security guards. With the New York Rifle ruling, the “justifiable need” requirement New Jersey places on obtaining a permit to carry a handgun may no longer be constitutional. In fact, some people convicted of possession of a handgun may be able to challenge their conviction.
While the “justifiable need” standard for concealed carry permits will no doubt change in the coming days, that doesn't mean that the Supreme Court ruling gutted all of New Jersey's gun control laws. New Jersey's Attorney General Matthew Platkin confirms that the New York Rifle ruling won't change any other aspect of New Jersey's gun laws, stating, “Carrying a handgun without a permit is still illegal in this state, and all other requirements for obtaining a carry permit still apply.
Hire a Skilled New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you're facing gun charges in New Jersey, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his skilled legal team at the Lento Law Firm have been defending the rights of people in New Jersey for years, and they can help you too. Call the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 or contact them online to set up a consultation.