TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Law and Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Linda R. Greenstein that would codify the definition of justifiable need to carry a handgun as currently set forth in the New Jersey Administrative Code was passed out of the Senate Budget and Appropriation Committee today.
The bill, S-2376, would require an applicant for a permit to carry a handgun to provide a written certificate of justifiable need to carry a handgun, which would be given under oath. Additionally, if the applicant is a private citizen, it shall specify in detail the urgent necessity for self-protection as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life.
“This bill is important because it codifies current regulations into law, preventing future administrations from weakening the definition of the standard for carrying a handgun,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “It is important for us to both enable citizens to protect themselves against specific threats against their safety while also ensuring that those citizens given a permit to carry a handgun truly need to carry one.”
Currently justifiable need is defined as the “urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry.” During the Christie administration, a proposed amendment to change the standard was made which would have added “serious threats” to the circumstances that could demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that could be specified in the written certificate of justifiable need.
The Christie administration also wanted to specify that a permit to carry a handgun could be issued based on a special danger to an applicant’s life that could not be avoided by other “reasonable means.”
Governor Murphy has said his administration would move forward with the original proposed regulations requiring “specific threats” as the standard.
“Words matter greatly here,” said Greenstein. “The bar needs to remain high for the issuance of a permit to carry a handgun in New Jersey”
The bill was released from the committee by a vote of 8-4 and moves to the full Senate for further consideration.