NJ Supreme Court Rules in Favor of A Gun Rights Case. What?
We’ve written about Marine veteran Calvin Carlstom’s fight to obtain a concealed carry permit in the anti-gun state of New Jersey. The NJ Supreme Court actually ruled in his favor in a decision on January 28. It is believed to be the first pro-gun decision ever issued unanimously by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The ruling is here.
Lower courts in New Jersey rejected his request for a concealed carry permit out-of-hand without a hearing on the matter. Cal had been hired by a security firm to be an armed guard at several movie theaters. Even though he jumped through all the hoops properly, and had the endorsement of the Roselle Park Police Chief, (per New Jersey law), he was denied by the Union County Superior Court. It has been a two year fight just to get his day in court.
Due Process required
Louis Nappen, of the Evan Nappen law firm, argued Cal’s case before the NJ Supreme Court. Evan Nappen wrote in Ammoland:
In New Jersey, however, county judges actually issue these permits, and Carlstrom’s application supporting documents was accordingly forwarded to the Union County Superior Court.
On February 2, 2017, Judge William A. Daniel denied Carlstrom’s application without ever providing Carlstrom with a hearing on the merits of his application.
Under New Jersey’s governing statute, carry permit applicants are specifically afforded a hearing if a police chief denies an application. The statute, however, is silent whether a judge must provide a hearing if the Court intends to deny an application that has been approved by a police chief.
Carlstrom hired the Nappen Firm to appeal the “trial” court’s decision. Nevertheless, on December 21, 2018, Appellate Division Judges Michael J. Haas and Stephanie Ann Mitterhoff affirmed Judge Daniel’s opinion, deciding that Carlstrom had “no authority to support his argument that a hearing is required in matters involving perfunctory licensing applications or that the court must hear testimony from the chief of police who
reviewed an application.”
The Nappen Firm believed differently and appealed higher, Petitioning for Certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of Carlstrom.
After this filing, on May 20, 2019, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) promulgated Administrative Directive #06-19: Criminal – Procedures for Processing Gun Permits, which provided that trial courts must hold a hearing if it has any questions regarding the applicant or his or her permit to carry application.
Today’s NJSC Opinion affirmatively incorporates the AOC Directive into precedential case law that county judges must now follow.
The NJSC Opinion also mandates that carry permit hearings “must be held no later than 30 days after receipt of the permit to carry application, and the court shall make a determination within 14 days thereafter, absent extraordinary circumstances.”
A victory for due process for CCW permit seekers could have resounding effects in New Jersey. Rejecting a Marine Veteran from a concealed carry permit when he has worn a weapon on his person his entire career is ridiculous.
Featured photo New Jersey Supreme Court. The Evan F. Nappen law firm has successfully argued cases in NY, NJ and NH on the 2nd amendment.