Following the death of Carol Bowne, a report detailing the recommendations of a special commission convened by Governor Christie has been released regarding Second Amendment issues in New Jersey. In this report, the direct activism of NJ2AS volunteers in various New Jersey police departments was cited. As stated before, the NJ2AS will no longer chase government for answers in hearings or meetings, or participate in senseless protests or petitions – we will only engage in direct, damning activism that captures the tyranny of our state and FORCES a response FROM government TO us. Unfortunately, the report itself is little more than a campaign distraction with very little substance.
The NJ2AS is appalled and dumbfounded at the fact that any true supporters of the Second Amendment are reacting to this recent report with celebration. If anything, New Jerseyans looking to protect their right to bear arms should be infuriated with the continued deception from our state government and all of its representatives, especially Governor Christie.
This commission has in no way increased the right to carry, or in any tangible way improved the turn-around times for permits. In fact, it has potentially enshrined “justifiable need” forever in the Garden State, which should shake our supporters to the bone. It appears supposed champions of our cause neglected to even read portions of the commission report detailing this information- like this excerpt from page 22:
We conclude by noting that Wheeler itself appears to suggest that our proposed regulatory change should make it more likely that the justifiable need standard will survive future constitutional challenges. By emphasizing that an applicant need only “show an objective reason…other than a generalized concern about becoming a crime victim to anticipate an attack necessitating the defensive use of a handgun,” the Wheeler court standard allows for the sort of meaningful self-protection by a law-abiding applicant that we believe will be necessary (at a minimum) for our handgun permitting laws to survive constitutional scrutiny. Maintaining the Administrative Code’s present misreading of Siccardi and Preis that an applicant must demonstrate a “specific threat” in order to obtain a carry permit seems likely to result eventually in a successful constitutional challenge to the justifiable need standard
The commission is openly admitting that these changes will actually allow the state to PRESERVE the discriminatory justifiable need clause in the Garden State while strengthening it from future challenge in the courts, The status quo where law enforcement and judges continue to wantonly deny applicants in no way will change.
Furthermore, the report makes vague references to making “uniform” practice of firearm permitting across townships, while in no way detailing any CONSEQUENCES for law enforcement for failing to do so. There is no incentive or punishment whatsoever for police chiefs or detectives to suddenly start complying with our already absurd 30 day time frame for permits.
Until police chiefs can be punished or lose their jobs for failing to comply with the law, none of the drivel in this report matters. Citizens do not have the deep pockets to constantly sue their municipal government for failing to uphold their rights – nor should New Jersey become a place where only lawsuits insure your rights. The fact of the matter is, unless a very prescribed and specific PUNISHMENT for law enforcement that fails to comply with the firearms permitting laws is defined (or a default approval after the allotted time frame), this report will not be worth the paper it’s printed on. That is why the NJ2AS continues to contend there should be NO permitting process for purchasing, as background checks are already redundantly performed at the point of sale. Involving government in the process only stands to ensure further delays, indifference, and misconduct.
Jersey City was sued for delaying firearms permits and requiring additional forms to Michael McGovern. Michael McGovern won his lawsuit for the unnecessary delay. Immediately after this decision, countless other individuals in Jersey City reported their permits were also being delayed and requiring additional forms without explanation. Till this day we still receive many complains for the former mentioned. The city took the position of “you can sue us too” in regards to conforming with the law. They do not care; they are not held accountable, even when judges decide they are guilty of misconduct. Only a fool will read this report and think it in any way will materially change the conduct of the law enforcement officers currently abusing our convoluted permitting system. The government of New Jersey is all powerful, never accountable, and already disobeys the law as written. If they will continue to wield power over deciding who gets to exercise their rights, who could possibly believe these vague conclusions in the report will materially result in substantive change?
Lastly, it is shocking that Governor Christie has recently admitted on the record that he can’t reinterpret “justifiable need” by executive order (https://youtu.be/yspiBXm9DwI), but suddenly, this very report clearly calls for a reinterpretation of the Administrative Code to a very small and minute degree. How is it that the Governor can justify reinterpreting “justifiable need” a little bit, but not to include self-defense? Is some change OK, but not too much? How much change exactly is he capable of affecting? How can he throw his hands up and imply he is powerless to make change to ensure all New Jereyans rights, but can make a change to ensure a small handful of citizen’s rights due to the shuffling of a few trifling words? This pandering does not fool us – we know that carry will continue to be relegated to the same friends and family of law enforcement, the legislature, and judges – statistically to less than 0.02% of the state population which includes retired police officers.
It is hard to call the recommendation of this report “changes” to current law. New Jersey still basically boils down to this simple fact: some lives are worth protecting (politicians, law enforcement, and judges) and other are expendable (everyone else). This is the preeminent civil rights issue in the Garden State. Until every citizen is afforded the right to protect themselves inside and outside their homes the same way our politicians and governor enjoy, there is no justice.