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  • Writer's pictureJudge Michael Donio

Ask The Judge

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My feelings on the new carry laws are two-fold. First, I believe in the second amendment that people have the right to bear arms. The late great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a person who tried to make everyone understand that the words in the Constitution have meaning. Legislators, and even Judges, should not try to find reasons to change the literal meaning of the Constitution.

With all that being said, I do have concerns about the new carry laws. As someone who had a carry permit for a number of years when I was on the bench due to a threat, I came to understand exactly what is involved in handling a firearm and carrying a firearm. Police officers have to go once or twice a year to re-qualify in order to carry their weapon.

I think it is imperative that anyone who obtains under the new law a carry permit, should be doing even more than that to ensure not only their safety but the safety of the public at large. I say that because we have things going on in this country like road rage and other instances where if two people are carrying a gun and don’t know how to use it, the results could be very bad for not only those people, but innocent bystanders as well.

It is my opinion that if you are going to get a carry permit that proper training before the permit is issued is mandatory, a mental health evaluation should be done and every year going forward, there should be a requalification process to make sure that only people who understand the significance of a firearm and can handle it safely should carry.

Therefore, while I believe in the second amendment of the Constitution having sat in criminal court for over ten years, I saw too many cases where firearms ended up in the wrong hands and even with people who were allowed to carry, that without proper training, the consequences could be dire.

Judge Michael Donio served as a New Jersey State Superior Court Judge for 20 years before retiring on July 31, 2015. He now operates a legal consulting and mediation firm on the White Horse Pike. Donio can be reached by calling (609) 481-2919. Send your questions for his columns to


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