By Evan Nappen
We can all thank President Trump for successfully nominating three conservative Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. This helped make possible the victorious landmark 2nd Amendment decision achieved in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen.
Justice Thomas wrote the extraordinary majority opinion for the Court. He is by far the greatest modern hero to the Second Amendment. Not only did this decision remove the requirement of “showing need” for a carry permit, but it paves the way to challenge virtually every gun law on the books and any future gun laws that may be passed by the anti-gun rights crowd.
Justice Thomas ruled that, “…the constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.”
He goes further and points out, “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need…“That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”
New Jersey has capitulated and the Attorney General has affirmatively stated that,
“…while the Supreme Court decision prevents New Jersey from continuing to require a demonstration of justifiable need in order to carry a handgun, it does not eliminate the enforcement of other permitting requirements under State law.”
“Justifiable need” was the main obstacle to getting a permit to carry in New Jersey, and it was the primary reason why law-abiding citizens were denied carry permits. This approach contributed to needless murders, rapes, and violent assaults, which occurred because New Jersey did not have a fair, objective “shall issue” carry permit system. This is joyfully no longer the status quo. This arbitrary unconstitutional requirement is now officially void.
Here in an easy-to-understand question and answer guide to getting your New Jersey Carry Permit.
What are the main requirements to obtain a permit to carry a handgun under New Jersey law now that the “need” requirement is eliminated?
Under N.J.S. 2C:58-4d., a person must satisfy the Court that he/she is:
- a person of good character and not subject to the disabilities of N.J.S. 2C:58-3c.;
- thoroughly familiar with the use and safe handling of the handgun.
What is “good character” under New Jersey law?
Overall “good character” is an objective standard based on the disqualifications listed under N.J.S. 2C:58-3c. However, it could also be based on subjective standards, such as “in the interest of public health, safety or welfare” or merely for being named on the Federal Terrorist Watchlist. In any case, “good character” disqualifications may include any person who:
- has been convicted of a crime or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence;
- is drug dependent;
- has been confined for a mental disorder to a hospital or mental institution;
- is a habitual drunkard;
- suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe to handle firearms;
- is an alcoholic;
- falsifies information on the application form;
- is under the age of 18;
- is a person where the issuance would not be in the interest of public health, safety or welfare;
- is a person subject to a court order under the Domestic Violence Act prohibiting firearm possession;
- is a person who as a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device or was one of the offenses enumerated under the No Early Release Act (NERA), which include murder, aggravated manslaughter, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, aggravated assault, disarming a law enforcement officer, kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, robbery, carjacking, aggravated arson, burglary, extortion, booby traps in CDS manufacturing or distribution facilities, strict liability for drug induced deaths, terrorism, possessing chemical weapons, biological agents, or nuclear devices, and first degree racketeering;
- is a person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” C.2C:25-17 et seq. and whose firearm has not been returned;
- is named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- any person who is subject to a court order prohibiting the custody, control, ownership, purchase, possession, or receipt of a firearm or ammunition issued pursuant to the “Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018,” P.L.2018, c.35 (C.2C:58-20 et al.).
What constitutes safe handling of a firearm under New Jersey law?
A: Safe handling of a firearm is an objective standard met by meeting the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:54-2.4(b).
Each applicant shall demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the safe handling and use of handguns by indicating in the space provided therefor on the application form, and on any sworn attachments thereto, any relevant information. Thorough familiarity with the safe handling and use of handguns shall be evidenced by:
- Completion of a firearms training course substantially equivalent to the firearms training approved by the Police Training Commission as described by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6j;
- Submission of an applicant’s most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified firearms instructor; or
- Passage of any test in this State’s laws governing the use of force administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified instructor.
How does one apply for a New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun?
A: As per the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) Firearms Information FAQ, if you reside in New Jersey, you must apply with municipal police department where reside. If the municipality where you reside is serviced by the New Jersey State Police, you must apply at the station which covers your municipality. Out of state residents must apply to the New Jersey State Police station nearest to their geographic location.
Applications forms are available to download online at
Here are the steps to follow when for a New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun as also gleaned from the NJSP:
The following instructions are the same for the initial and renewal application
- Complete a State of New Jersey Application for Permit to Carry a Handgun,
in triplicate. All references must know the applicant for a minimum of three (3) years prior to the date of the application.
- All original copies must be notarized.
- Submit four color passport size photographs with your application package.
- Complete the Consent for Mental Health Search.
Submit in writing a justifiable reason / need for the issuance of a permit tocarry a handgun. This must be detailed. (NO LONGER REQUIRED).
- Written proof of qualification and ownership with the handgun(s) you intend oncarrying if your application is approved. This must be recent at the time of the application and must also be obtained from a certified firearms instructor.
- A money order in the amount of $50.00 payable to: “Treasurer, State of New Jersey” All armored car guard applications shall be submitted to the appropriate New Jersey State Police Barracks. All others (non-Armored car guards) shall be submitted to the law enforcement agency where the applicant resides. If your town of residence is covered by a State Police barracks on a full-time basis, submit to that barracks.
If part time, submit to that municipal police department. All out of state applicants must submit to the closest New Jersey State Police Barracks (not to include New Jersey State Police Barracks located on toll roads) to where they are geographically located.
*If you are in need of further assistance or direction, contact your local Municipal Police Department or State Police Barracks for guidance.
How long should it take for the Chief or the Superintendent to approve or deny an application prior to it going to the Superior Court for final disposition by a Judge?
A: The application must be approved or denied within 60 days of filing. If the application is not approved or denied within 60 days of filing, it shall be deemed approved by the Chief or Superintendent unless the applicant agrees to an extension of time in writing.
What may a person do if he/she has been denied a New Jersey Permit to Carry a Handgun?
A: Under N.J.S. 2C:58-4e., a person who has been denied a permit to carry a handgun may request a hearing in Superior Court in the County in which he/she is a resident. The request must be made in writing within 30 days of the denial. A copy is served upon the Superintendent of the State Police, County Prosecutor and Chief of Police of the municipality in which he/she resides if he is a resident of New Jersey. Under New Jersey law, the hearing shall be held within 30 days of the receipt of the request
About Evan Nappen:
Evan Nappen is above all a tireless defender of justice. Host of the praised “Gun Lawyer” Podcast, author of eight bestselling books and countless articles on firearms, knives, weapons history, and the law, a certified Firearms Instructor, and avid weapons collector and historian with a vast collection that spans almost five decades, it’s no wonder he’s become the trusted, go-to expert for local, industry, and national media outlets. Called on regularly by radio, television, and online news media for his commentary and expertise on breaking news, Evan has appeared on countless shows including Fox, CNN, Court TV, WOR-New York. As a creative arts consultant, he also lends his weapons law and historical expertise to an elite, discerning cadre of movie and television producers and directors, and novelists. He also provides expert testimony and consultations for defense attorneys across America. www.evannappen.com.