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Gun Law

United States Constitutional Law - The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States confirmed that the Second Amendment conferred this right upon the people. This decision came in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 171 L.Ed.2d 637 (2008). Included in Heller was this holding (emphasis added):

There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Heller did not cause New Jersey to give up. New Jersey continued its long-maintained strict anti-gun policy. In Crespo v. Crespo, 408 N.J. Super. 25 (App. Div., 2009), aff'd, 201 N.J. 207 (2010), the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled:

The Second Amendment is “a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the National government, and not upon that of the States.”

But on June 10, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States squarely held that the Second Amendment does impose limitations upon the individual States. This unambiguous holding came in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, 130 S.Ct. 3020, 177 L.Ed.2d 894 (2010): “We hold that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States. ”

New Jersey Gun Charges

Despite McDonald, New Jersey still continues to throw roadblock after roadblock in its efforts to thwart purchase of firearms, responsible gun ownership and use. Thus In re Wheeler, 433 N.J.Super. 560 (App. Div., 2013) requires that a person wishing to carry handguns in public demonstrate “justifiable need.” Being a law-abiding adult with an unblemished record is insufficient. Wheeler specifically held that even being a retired member of the Arson Investigation Unit of the Newark Fire Department did not qualify a person to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in public.

Concerning Firearms Other Than Handguns, N.J.S. 2C:39-5c(2) Specifies

Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

And N.J.S. 2C:39-5d Specifies

Any person who knowingly has in his possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

New Jersey law relating to weapons in general, and firearms in particular, is convoluted and complicated. New Jersey places hurdles and roadblocks at every opportunity to thwart citizens' exercise of their Second Amendment rights. But New Jersey has been unable to completely extinguish gun rights of responsible owners.

New Jersey Gun Lawyers

Allan Marain and Norman Epting, Jr. are New Jersey gun lawyers. They are available to represent persons denied a firearms identification card, or a handgun purchase permit, or a license to carry a concealed weapon. They are available to represent card holders whose ability to keep those rights is challenged. And they are available to seek recovery of confiscated weapons.

On the criminal defense side, each has successfully represented numerous persons charged with gun-related crimes. Concerning right to obtain and own firearms, Mr. Marain is working hard to increase the effectiveness of statutes relating to expungement of mental health records. Between the two of them, Messrs. Marain and Goodman have almost seventy years experience. They are available to discuss with you your gun-related situation, in complete confidence. They would welcome your call.


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