Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action
New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- The Garden State is known for being an anti-civil rights wasteland. Firearm possession in the state is by exemption or permits. Up until recently, the permitting regulating the possession of handguns and pistols was an out-of-reach unicorn. Handgun and pistol owners had to largely rely on exemptions of the law, as NJ Rev Stat § 2C:39-5 b (2021) states one must first obtain a permit to carry prior to possessing a handgun. However, now in our post NYSRPA v. Bruen world, obtaining a permit to carry is possible.
Social media sites have been buzzing with people applying, allegedly getting denied, and also some rumors of permits to carry actually getting issued. To say a lot of rumors have been abound would be an understatement.
There’s plenty of counterproductive talks, such as people “in the know” going off when the uninitiated refer to the New Jersey permit to carry as a “CCW” or a concealed carry permit. The fact that NJ makes no distinction between open or concealed carry and said permit is referred to as a “permit to carry” is not cause for berating those that quickly refer to the permit as a CCW or a concealed carry permit. A collective sigh of relief should be exhaled by all persons in this fight, and while some kind of corrective rudder is not a bad thing, let’s not act like we don’t know what people are talking about.
There’s also been a ton of counterproductive talks about what is required to rope and wrangle one of these one-horned horses in the land of one thousand diners. I have spoken to two verified permit-to-carry recipients in New Jersey and want to share that information.
The first thing we should divert our attention to is a document on the New Jersey State Police website called: “Permit To Carry Instructions“. While the document is not necessarily the best, it does outline the needed steps to take to apply for a permit to carry in New Jersey. It’s important to note that New Jersey, at this time, also does not make a distinction between resident and non-resident permits. Non-residents are to apply to the closest State Police barracks that are not on a toll road to where the applicant would be entering the state.
The first recipient of a New Jersey permits to carry that I spoke to was Jamie DeAngelis. DeAngelis lives in Warren County, in Hackettstown, New Jersey. DeAngelis told me that he dropped off his completed application on July 26th at his police department. The local range where DeAngelis shoots, RTSP in Randolph, he said, had the complete process of what to do from beginning to end on their web page.
DeAngelis said before going in for any qualifications, he practiced what he thought the qualification would be, shooting out to 25 yards. He said that at RTSP, he did their CCW Qualification Course, a holster draw course, and the qualification with the firearm(s) he intended on carrying. RTSP, for their qualification, seems to be working off of a modified version of the NJ Retired Police Officer Qualification, the HQC2, on an FBI “Q” target. RTSP lists the qualification as such:
• 50 round total (per firearm)
• 10 rounds at 3 yards
• 10 rounds at 5 yards
• 10 rounds at 7 yards
• 10 rounds at 10 yards
• 10 rounds at 15 yards
Once DeAngelis completed all the training elements, he assembled his application packet.
Application printed duplexed (on both sides) in triplicate, with live signatures from each reference on each application. All three applications with live notarization of the applicant’s signature on each one. From # S.P. 642
Consent For Mental Health Records Search filled out and signed in the presence of the issuing authority. Note, that some people have been having issues with this form and opening it in a web browser. If that’s the case, download it onto the computer and open it with whatever pdf viewer is installed. Form # S.P. 066
An affidavit stating lawful ownership of the firearms intended to be carried. Instead of a letter listing the firearms with the make, model, and serial number, an applicant can use their pink copies of pistol permits or receipts to prove ownership of the handguns.
The $50.00 certified money order was made out to “Treasurer, State of New Jersey.” (Make sure it’s signed before handing it in)
Color copies of driver’s license and birth certificate. Instead of a birth certificate, applicants can bring passports or naturalization paperwork to prove citizenship, along with their driver’s license.
Four 1.5″ x 1.5″ photos. These are called “passport photos”; however, passport photos are 2″ x 2″. It was noted that the correct size if trying to have someone look up the information at one of the many locations that provide this service is an Argentina-sized passport photograph.
The certified qualification, along with any other training certificates an applicant may have that are relevant.
Example of a Letter of Ownership to use in New Jersey
Fingerprinting is a requirement in order to get a permit to carry. After receiving instructions from the issuing authority, one can go and get that done per their direction.
DeAngelis received his New Jersey permit to carry on August 12th. About the process, DeAngelis had a message he wanted to get out to everyone. He said to me that it’s important that people realize that this is obtainable. He talked about going on the record for everyone to learn from his process:
“That’s why I was willing to do it (go on the record) because I mean, I really want people to realize it’s doable. And not because everybody I talked to was afraid to put it through and what got me was like they’re waiting for somebody, for people to start posting that they’re getting it before they do it. So that’s why I kind of posted it because I want people to see people are getting them. It’s real. It’s safe.”
Anecdotally, DeAngelis told me about getting the call to pick up his permit:
“A lady called me, and it was funny the lady from the courthouse called and she’s like, ‘I’m so and so from the courthouse of Warren and Belvedere. Your permit is ready.’ And I knew one of my references just turned in this thing. So I thought she was one of my friends messing with me. And because a lot of them were saying, ‘Oh, you’re gonna get declined, you’re gonna get denied, you’re not gonna get that.’ Everyone kept telling me as I was dumb and stupid for putting it in so early, I was gonna get denied. So in the back of my head, I thought ‘I’m gonna get denied.’ I really started thinking there’s no chances it’s gonna happen, I’m gonna get denied. When she called me and told me it was done. I asked, ‘Who put you up to calling me? One of my friends? One of my friends did this.’ She started laughing. And she’s like, ‘No. I’m serious. You could come pick it up, you just have to sign it.'”
DeAngelis said he was issued a permit to carry with no restrictions.
The other person I spoke to who also received their New Jersey permit to carry is Keith S. from Passaic County. Keith asked to go by first name last initial for understandable privacy reasons. Much like DeAngelis, Keith went to his local and trusted range, which in his case was Gun For Hire at The Woodland Park Range.
Keith talked at length about the years of training he had been putting in getting ready for the day that pistol carry would become a reality in New Jersey. Following closely the detailed instructions put out by Gun For Hire, which can be read HERE, Keith went about getting his qualification done and assembled his application packet. Keith said he was in the first class of the first day that was being offered at Gun For Hire.
Gun For Hire also uses a similar modified qualification, as noted on their page:
This is not a beginner course! You will be required to demonstrate safety, familiarity, and accuracy. It is pass or fail.
– No holster needed
– All shooting from the ready position
– 50 rounds per firearm
– FBI Q target
– 24 rounds at 7 yards
– 14 rounds at 10 yards
– 6 rounds at 15 yards
– 6 rounds at 25 yards
For a total of 50 rounds. Must hit at least 40 rounds out of 50 (80%)
Keith ended up qualifying with two handguns, which he used copies of his pink pistol purchaser’s permit to prove ownership to his town. On Monday July 1st his completed packet was with his town and he sent in verification that his fingerprints were done. On July 18th, he got the call to come down to the courthouse to pick up and sign his permit. Keith told me about showing up to meet the judge:
“You meet with the judge and he reads the statute to you. And then he reads to you the firearms that are listed on your permit, to make sure that the serial number and the firearm match. Which as it happened on my my qualification form…it happens that my serial number starts with like a six, and on the form said I qualify with the model 66, Sig Sauer. So I, I told the judge, ‘I’m sorry, Your Honor, but that’s not true. I qualify with a Sig 365.’ So he’s like, ‘Oh, my God.’ He took me through the paperwork to pull out the pink slip, he told the clerk to go on the back end just and fix it. I wait a couple of minutes, I sat in the front. They went back, they redid my paperwork, came out, handed me my permit. He told me to laminate it, and we had a great chat about firearm safety and everything.”
The big thing that Keith emphasized while discussing the process was the importance of training. Keith said it’s our job to be good ambassadors to the New Jersey public, and show them that safe and responsible firearm carry is okay and a reality. He spoke about the training he got over the years from Gun For Hire in high regard, noting:
“I would describe Gun For Hire like if you have a family member that says ‘Listen, you want to get this done? I got a guy. Let’s do it.’ And they walk you through it and they help you. They boosted confidence in you. People going through the qualification that day that were scared out of their mind and they talked them down. They made everybody feel comfortable and at home because it’s a serious matter and they don’t want people to look bad or feel bad or do anything bad either. But there were people that did fail and they simply pulled them aside told them what they did wrong, taught them difference. And you know said ‘this equipment’s not right for you. That’s not good for you. Maybe you should try this.’ So, I would describe Gun For Hire like a pristine establishment that wants you to succeed. And they want the state, not not only gun owners, but the state in itself to feel comfortable and safe.”
Keith was issued a permit with restrictions noting the make, model, and serial number of the firearms he qualified with at Gun For Hire.
These are just two of the many stories that are circulating about people actually getting permits to carry in the state of New Jersey. These are verified examples, and not just hearsay. While these are the steps that these individuals took to get their permits, we’re not all guaranteed to have the same experiences. Hopefully in due time the process will become streamlined and easier to navigate. In the meantime let’s celebrate that a bit of liberty has been returned to The Garden State.
The reality of carry has come to New Jersey, yes, because of the victory in NYSRPA v. Bruen. But the entire process, as it is and as it develops was and is made possible because of the countless hours of work by many people. New Jersey’s state association, the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC), with brilliant leaders and attorneys like Scott Bach and Daniel L. Schmutter, has really paved the way to make this a much smoother transition than could have come to the state. ANJRPC has been doing some serious heavy lifting, and letters from their “Strike Force” have offered some corrective rudder suggestions to jurisdictions that are not in line with the Constitution.
It is important to note that New York, where the opinion was directed, has now passed laws more stringent than they had prior to the opinion, and people in New Jersey are getting carry.