Gun groups challenge NJ laws on open carry of handguns

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Pro-gun groups have filed a lawsuit in New Jersey claiming that the state's firearm laws deny residents their fundamental constitutional right to carry a handgun outside their home.

The lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and the New Jersey 2nd Amendment Society also challenges the procedure gun-owning residents must follow in order to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in public, NJ.com reported.

Without a permit, gun owners can only keep firearms inside their homes or businesses. When traveling to gun ranges, the firearms must be unloaded and locked in a container.

However, the groups claim that obtaining a permit is near impossible. Alexander Roubian, president of the New Jersey 2nd Amendment Society, called it a “draconian prohibition.”

“New Jersey residents want nothing more than to protect themselves and their loved ones, as they are entitled to,” Roubian told the paper.

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To carry a loaded handgun outside their homes, gun owners in the state must apply for a permit with the local or state police department.

The application requires three components: testimony from three people on the applicant’s moral character and behavior; gun safety certificates; and “a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun,” according to the paper.

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To meet the “justifiable need” standard, gun owners must prove there is an urgent need for self-protection and no other alternative than an armed defense, the paper reported, citing the lawsuit.

If police approve the application, it moves on to the Superior Court, where the applicant must again prove they meet the requirements. If denied, applicants can take the issue before a judge within 30 days.

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The lawsuit claims most residents who apply are denied the permit. It was unclear how many permits are issued annually.

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