By: José Niño
Two police organizations have filed a lawsuit against New Jersey over a law that requires retired cops who have federal permission to carry concealed firearms to apply for a separate permit. In addition, the former officers must comply with different qualifications and pay additional fees to acquire that privilege in New Jersey.
According to the lawsuit, the New Jersey law and the red tape it imposes is illegal, and state officials should be prevented from enforcing it.
The lawsuit asserts that New Jersey tacks on improper age restrictions and gives state officials "unfettered discretion" to reject permits.
The complaint was filed on May 18, 2020 in the U.S. District Court in Newark. The plaintiffs include the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police, and three retired federal officers.
The lawsuit is also attempting to compel New Jersey to let retired officers to possess hollow-point bullets.
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and state police Superintendent Patrick Callahan are the defendants.
Under the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, retired cops are allowed to carry firearms concealed. The lawsuit in question contends that the act's "unambiguous statutory text" grants a national right that states can’t overrule.
New Jersey is one of the most anti-gun states in America — with a ranking of 49th place according to Guns & Ammo magazine — and its state government says the law does not let residents circumvent the state’s own requirements.
According to an October 2018 memo from Grewal's office, the federal law serves to prevent the criminal prosecution of retired cops who carry concealed firearms in interstate commerce. Further, it "does not provide an alternative path to eligibility to carry a firearm" in New Jersey.
Due to New Jersey’s stringent gun control environment, there aren’t many avenues for pro-gun activism. Nevertheless, gun owners must always fight back against overreach. If we can’t score legislative wins, we should be preventing further Second Amendment transgressions at the very least.
José Niño is a Venezuelan American freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.