New Bill will Allow Officials to Carry a Handgun

New Jersey is notorious for having some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. But, a new bill would make it easier for certain New Jersey officials to obtain a firearm permit.

Under current New Jersey gun law, residents must show a “justifiable need” for self-protection in order to obtain a permit. Applicants must provide evidence that specific threats or previous attacks have been made against them and that the danger to their life can’t be avoided my any other means than to carry a handgun. A Superior Court Judge and the local police must approve the application.  This process makes it nearly impossible for New Jersey residents to receive an open carry permit. In a state with 9 million residents, only a mere 1,600 have permits.

Senator Cardinale, sponsor of the new bill, explains that, “The state’s current laws prevent only responsible citizens from having the ability to arm themselves for self protection. Our laws do not protect us they merely give criminals an advantage by failing to keep guns away from terrorists and dangerous criminals.”

Veteran Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39) introduced a new bill that would exempt New Jersey legislators and judges from the justifiable need rule. Bill S-1982 would allow the State’s 120 legislators and hundred superior and municipal court judges to obtain carry permits without proving that they are in danger. Instead, they will only have to complete eight hours of firearm safety training and show that they do not have any disabilities that would exclude them under current law.

Cardinale, who has frequently fought to loosen the State’s tight gun control laws, drafted the bill to provide additional protection for government officials. Bill S-1982 was inspired by recent attacks on public servants. In 2011, Arizona Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, was shot in an assassination attempt. More recently, a Texas Judge was injured in a shooting outside her home in Austin.

Lawmakers and judges face a greater risk of violent attacks than most citizens, simply because of their identifiable position in public life. Judges should feel safe returning home every night, no matter how they ruled or what they ruled on that day. The proposed bill will ensure that public servants have the means, or right to the means, to protect themselves from people who might violently retaliate against their decisions or viewpoints. Senator Cardinale explained, “that if vulnerable public officials do not have to fear violent reprisals related to their duties, they will be able to better carry out their mission to serve the people of New Jersey.”

The many laws in our great state of New Jersey are always changing and updating, and many times in more serious matters than those discussed above. To ensure you’re getting the most up to date information, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney. If you need assistance for a legal matter, we at Zapicchi & Liller are here to help. For a free consultation, give us a call today at 609-291-9500 to learn more.