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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.
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“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.
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“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.
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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.”
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