The National Rifle Association brought a lawsuit against New Jersey officials, challenging their requirement that residents must show a “justifiable need” to be approved for a permit to carry firearms in public.
Joining the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners, and individual New jersey residents, the NRA claims that New Jersey’s requirement unreasonably restricts people’s Second Amendment rights.
“New Jersey has seized precisely the power forbidden it by the Second Amendment: the power to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether an applicant for a permit to “carry weapons in case of confrontation’ … has, in their estimation, shown a sufficiently ‘justifiable need’ that a permit should issue,” says the complaint, filed Tuesday in New Jersey federal court.
The complaint notes that as a result of the “justifiable need” requirement, which means a clear and present threat against one’s own safety, gives the state body discretion in determining what that means, most people are rejected.
“In practice, permits are rarely given,” the complaint says, citing case law that interpreted to mean that “[g]eneralized fears for personal safety are inadequate, and a need to protect property alone does not suffice.” According to the law, N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4(c), a justifiable need can be shown via evidence of “specific threats or previous attacks” that pose a danger “that cannot be avoided by reasonable means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.”
The complaint alleges that this requirement “precludes nearly every law abiding New Jerseyan from obtaining a permit to carry a handgun.”
Having a “justifiable need” is just one of several requirements in the state, along with others including a lack of domestic violence convictions, as well as not being addicted to alcohol or controlled substances. Applicants must also undergo background checks that include mental health, take a training course, and submit three character recommendations.
Fox News reached out to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, but his office did not immediately respond.
The plaintiffs seek a declaration that New Jersey’s limit on the issuance of carry permits violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.
“It’s outrageous that law-abiding people are being denied their right to self-defense by arbitrary means,” NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter said in a statement. “Statistics show that self-defense situations come up quickly and without warning. Time and time again, we hear stories about good people who have saved lives because they were carrying a firearm. The state of New Jersey has no reason to deny law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights.”