New Jersey Weapons Possession Advocacy Lawyer
(The following is not legal advice and only an overview of the law. You must consult an attorney to form any kind of attorney client relationship).
Citizen Solider Law advocates for the rights of law-abiding citizens and law enforcement officers to carry a means of self-defense. Of course, off-duty law enforcement officers should be carrying firearms off-duty to the fullest extent of the law and constitution. Call our New Jersey weapons possession advocacy lawyers to appeal the denial of a permit to purchase firearms or carry a handgun, to get your weapons back after they have been confiscated, or to exercise your rights under the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA).
Applying to Purchase Firearms and Appealing Denials
Gun purchases are highly regulated at the state level. In New Jersey, you need to have a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FID Card) to purchase a long gun, such as a shotgun or rifle. To purchase a handgun, you additionally need to obtain a Permit to Purchase a Handgun. You’ll need a separate permit for each individual handgun purchase and are limited to only buying one gun a month. Once obtained, a handgun purchase permit is good for 90 days, although it can be extended for an additional 90 days at the discretion of the local chief of police if applying through your local police department. In municipalities without a police department, you’ll apply directly to the New Jersey State Police.
The application process for an FID Card or handgun permit requires more than just filling out a form. You’ll need to be fingerprinted, consent to a mental health records check, provide two references, and submit to the NJ NICS background check, which is New Jersey’s version of the National Instant Background Check (NIBS). New Jersey’s background check can take 20 minutes or up to 12 days. The entire process of getting an FID Card can take anywhere from 30 days to six months or more, depending on the police department you are going through. Of course, it should not take that long.
New Jersey’s Firearms Applicant Registration System (FARS) has a lot of requirements for the individual to meet, as well as many categories of individuals prohibited from registering. If you are denied an ID card or permit to purchase or carry a handgun, you can appeal that denial in court. You must request a hearing within 30 days of the denial to secure your rights. Once requested, you should get your appeal within 30 days but courts have not historically acted with determination to meet that deadline. There are many different reasons your application could be turned down – problems with your application or supporting documentation, the criminal background check or mental health record checks, the references you provided, or the conclusions of the investigating officers in charge of your application.
Your appeal will be decided in a formal courtroom hearing where you’ll present evidence, testimony and legal arguments as to why your application should be granted. Legal representation from an experienced attorney is essential here to make a solid and convincing argument to the judge. Attorney Thomas Roughneen at Citizen Soldier Law is experienced in judicial and administrative proceedings at the state and federal levels and knows how to prepare and present a compelling case in court.
Getting Weapons Back After They Have Been Confiscated
In New Jersey, the police will seize your weapons the minute you become subject to a restraining order, such as after an allegation of domestic violence. Even if you get that restraining order canceled in court, you’ll still have to likely experience a separate forfeiture hearing in Superior Court to get your weapons back.
Your weapons are more at risk for seizure and forfeiture in New Jersey now than ever before, with the passage of the state’s red flag law in August 2019. This law allows a judge to issue an “extreme risk protection order” at the request of family or household members or police officers who convince the judge you present an immediate and present danger of bodily injury to yourself or others by possessing, purchasing, owning or receiving a firearm. After reviewing the petition along with your criminal history, arrest record, prior convictions and other legal history, the judge can issue an order and search warrant to seize your guns and FID Card, your permit to purchase a handgun, and/or your permit to carry. The Superior Court judge holds a final hearing within ten days. At that time, the judge can permanently prohibit you from owning, handling, or purchasing a firearm.
This order can stay in effect forever unless you can prove in a hearing that you are not a threat. Let Citizen Soldier Law advise and represent you in this process to make sure your firearms and your constitutional rights are not unfairly taken from you.
LEOSA Weapons Possession Advocates
The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 (LEOSA) is a federal law that allows a qualified law enforcement officer to carry a concealed firearm, regardless of any state or local law that prohibits carrying concealed handguns. There are many requirements to be eligible to carry under LEOSA. These criteria include:
- You must be carrying a government photo ID
- You must be a current or retired LEO who is authorized to carry a firearm
- You must not be the subject of disciplinary action
- You must be trained and qualified to use a weapon according to agency standards
- You must not be under the influence of an intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or alcohol
- You must not be prohibited by federal law from receiving a firearm
- A firearm under LEOSA does not include a machine-gun, silencer, or destructive device (bomb, grenade)
For retired LEOs, you must have retired in good standing and not for mental instability. You must have been regularly employed as a LEO for at least 10 years and have separated in good standing. These qualifications are in addition to the requirements noted above for active LEOs, including meeting the current training and qualification standards to carry for active LEOs during the last 12 months.
Importantly, LEOSA does not supersede or limit state laws that permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property, nor does it supersede or limit state laws that prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any state or local government property, installation, building, base or park. It is, therefore, very important to know the parameters of the law, so you don’t run afoul of it by carrying in a prohibited area. If you believe your rights under LEOSA have been violated, call our office to review your case with an experienced and dedicated LEOSA weapons possession attorney. We regularly participate in training sessions and provide LEOs with materials on LEOSA.
Call Citizen Soldier Law for Strong, Devoted Weapons Possession Advocacy
If your statutory or constitutional right to purchase, own or carry firearms has been violated by government action, call Citizen Solder Law to discuss your claim with an experienced NJ weapons advocacy lawyer committed to forceful weapons possession advocacy for law enforcement officers and private citizens.