This page should be used as a rough guide to determine your chances of getting denied and it is based upon my experience. The outcome in your case may vary depending on a number of factors. This is also for purchase permits and FID cards only.
You will be denied if:
1. You fail to complete the application and all related forms.
2. You under 18 (for FID) or under 21 (for pistol)
3. You have been convicted of any felony (and it has not been expunged)
4. You have been convicted of a disorderly person’s offense related to domestic violence
5. You are drug dependent
6. You have been confined for a mental health disorder
7. You are an alcoholic
8. You suffer from a physical disease or defect which would make it unsafe for you to handle firearms
9. You falsify information on the application
10. You are subject to a domestic violence restraining order (keep in mind that FRO’s in New Jersey do not expire).
11. Where the issuance of the permit would otherwise not be in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare.
12. As a juvenile, you were adjudicated delinquent for an offense, which if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use of a firearm.
13. Whose firearm was seized pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 and whose firearm has not been returned.
14. You have been previously denied and you have not appealed or fixed the issue that caused the denial in the first place.
There are a number of things you can do to get around some of these issues. You can file an expungement, a motion to vacate the FRO, or you can work with an attorney to shoot down some of these issues before you get denied. Some of these issue are vague so see the next section.
There is a good chance you will be denied if:
1. You have any criminal conviction: public health, safety, welfare, etc, is rather vague and is often used as a catch-all. Since anything can fit inside that category, police will try to deny you using this category for any number of reasons. Having recent convictions or a number of convictions will cause you some problems.
2. You have a recent DWI or more than one DWI: how else are they going to prove that you are an alcoholic?
3. You have a recent drug conviction or more than one drug conviction: same as above. How else can they prove you have a substance abuse problem.
4. You forget to include information on your application: some police departments will allow you to fix your mistakes, but most I’ve seen won’t. I’ve even seen some that have told people they can fix it only to get denied afterwards. You can also be charged with a felony criminal offense for this falsification.
5. You have ever been involved in any type of domestic violence case: DV is a big deal no matter how long ago and no matter whether or not the case was dismissed, the restraining order was dismissed, etc. The more recent it is and the number of DV events will increase the chance of denial.
6. You live with someone who would not be able to get a permit based upon any of the reason above: you cannot have a gun in the same house with someone who would not be able to own one. Thus, when you apply, everyone in your house applies (in a sense) with you. If the police find out about your wife’s mental health issue, your brother’s conviction, etc, you will likely be denied.
You may be denied if:
1. You have ever been treated for a mental health issue: I wrote a blog post last year about someone (not my client) that was denied for seeing a psychiatrist over 20 years ago when the guy was 7 years old. They thought he had ADHD so he saw this doctor a few times and nothing ever came of it. If you have anything above that, it could be a big issue.
2. You have had any police involvement at any time no matter what happened. Too many people think that cases go away after a while, that you can commit all holy hell as a juvenile and you get a clean slate as an adult or that dismissed or plea bargained cases will make the incident a non-issue. WRONG! Any police involvement, no matter how long ago, no matter what happened in the end can be used against you. For example, I spoke with a guy that was denied because an ex-girlfriend wrote a false police report about an alleged assault. She didn’t press charges so he never even found out about the report and so, he couldn’t contest it. I also wrote a blog post about someone that was denied (I turned it around and won eventually) because he got a conditional discharge.
3. Someone has it out for you and fights to prevent you from getting it. I had a case once where my client’s ex-girlfriend found out about his application and she fought like hell to make sure he didn’t get it.
4. Your application is filled out wrong, is missing information, your references won’t call back, etc. I’ve had the police tell me that they called my client to say that his application was wrong and he swore up and down that they never called him. Sometimes, they don’t even seem to tell you but when you call for an update, you can’t get anyone on the phone. How are you going to know?
5. You have a bad reputation in town: some people just have a bad reputation with the local police. There are no real arrests, but the police just don’t like you. This is more common in urban areas.
The de facto denial
1. I’ve had people call me to report that they have been waiting 12 to 18 months with no update. Some people have told me that they applied and just never heard anything back. Still others waited a long time only to finally be told that there is no record of their application. So, while none of these people were ever really denied, it is a de facto denial in the sense that there was never an approval.
If you do not fit into any of the above categories, than it may just come down to time and how long you are willing to wait to get a permit.