Kevin J. Friel
Perspective: Hammonton Police
As you may be well aware there have been some changes in New Jersey gun laws due to a United States Supreme Court decision out of New York.
The Supreme Court decision prevents New Jersey from continuing to require a demonstration of justifiable need in order to carry a handgun. This decision does not eliminate the enforcement of other permitting requirements under NJ State law.
My job as Hammonton Police Chief is to serve and protect this community and all those who live, work or here visiting to enjoy all our town has to offer.
I support individuals personal choices about firearms, and make sure that everyone complies with legislation and directive about firearms.
Owning and carrying firearms are two separate and distinct things. Your choice to apply for the purchase of and/or carry permit of a firearm comes with great responsibilities and liabilities.
Police officers are required to qualify multiple times a year with firearms, are held to department policies and state requirements to do so, and still face intense scrutiny when it comes to discharging a firearm in the line of duty. I would imagine we will see the same if a citizen, with a carry permit, discharges a firearm.
I, as well as many other chiefs in the state, was waiting on the requirements for the carry permits before starting to accept carry permit applications. I couldn’t approve something if I didn’t know what the requirements to approve were. The New Jersey Firearms Unit had an informational meeting to clarify requirements and we are now accepting application by appointment.
The AG Directive clarifies that, in reviewing an individual’s application to carry, law enforcement agencies must continue to ensure that the applicant satisfies all requirements under the law, except that the applicant need not submit a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun.
Before issuing a carry permit, law enforcement agencies must continue to:
• ensure that an applicant is not subject to any of the disabilities that by law would prevent them from obtaining a permit to purchase a handgun or firearms purchaser identification card;
• conduct a background check to confirm that the applicant is qualified to carry a handgun, including by ensuring that the application is, among other things, endorsed by three reputable people who have known the applicant for at least three years and can verify that the applicant is a person of good moral character and behavior; and
• ensure that an applicant has demonstrated that they are thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns.
Thorough familiarity with the safe handling and use of handguns shall be evidenced by:
1. Completion of a firearms training course substantially equivalent to the firearms training approved by the Police Training Commission as described by N.J.S.A 2C:39-6j;
2. Submission of an applicant’s most recent handgun qualification scores utilizing the handgun(s) he or she intends to carry as evidenced by test firings administered by a certified firearms instructor of a police academy, a certified firearms instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified firearms instructor;
1. (Will be required in the immediate future) Passage of any test in this State’s laws governing the use of force administered by a certified instructor of a police academy, a certified instructor of the National Rifle Association, or any other recognized certified instructor. (The information above shall be accompanied and validated by certifications of the appropriate instructor(s).)
Please remember that possessing a carry permit also has many requirements after it is issued including places that you may not carry and conditions that you may not be permitted to carry your firearm.
Owning firearms is a great responsibility.
A very important part about firearms safety is being safe with use and storage. Please be safe and responsible to help keep our community a safe one.
Chief, Hammonton Police Department