Category Archives: My Practice
In an effort to clear up a lot of confusion, I thought I’d write a quick post to explain several issues that play no part in the decision to grant or deny a gun permit.
1. There is no difference between a purchase permit and an FID card. There is only one version of the STS-33 so it doesn’t matter if you are applying for a purchase permit, FID card, or both. The law is exactly the same for both. The only difference is the purpose of each permit. Its not easier to get one or the other.
2. It doesn’t matter why you need it. Some people seem to think that the police care why you need a gun. There is nothing in the law that allows this to play a part in the decision. Its nobody’s business why you need one gun or another. Explaining that it is for hunting or home defense will not increase your chances.
3. Training courses. The police don’t care if you are a firearms expert or if you don’t know the first thing about guns. Thus, proving that you know how to safely handle firearms or something similar will not increase your chances at all as there is nothing in the law that allows this to be considered.
4. Length of time between a previous event and now. As I mentioned in a previous post, it doesn’t matter that you DWI, TRO, criminal charges, etc, etc, was from a long time ago. Most questions say “have you ever”.
5. Your opinion on the system. I realize this system sucks but unless your opinion about it isn’t really going to solve the problem or change how the police handle your application. I realize some people need to vent but others seem to want to argue about the system. You can fight to change it but until it is changed, it is what it is.
6. Character letters. Unless an attorney directs you to provide one document or another, presenting additional info is not going to help you.
I hate hearing about people getting screwed over by other attorneys and unfortunately, I hear about it quite often. Today, a client called me to say that he lost his gun permit appeal because his attorney knew nothing about gun permit appeals. You wouldn’t go to an eye doctor for foot surgery so why would you hire an attorney that knows nothing about gun permits and appeals? Well, the difference is that the eye doctor will advise you that you need a specialist while some attorneys will take anything that walks in the door because this can be a cut-throat business. I’d be happy to help you with any of your firearms issues but if you need to go with someone else, ask them to prove that they actually know what they are doing. Where is their firearms blog? Where is their NRA membership? What is their track record? Ask these questions before you get screwed over.
For some reason, a lot of people like to read extra information into the application. The application is very straightforward. Most of the question start with “have you ever…”. Thus, ever means at any point in your life. There is no time limit although many want to take issue with how much time has passed between one event or another and today. This is how people run into problem. Accept the fact that ever really does just mean at any time.
Likewise, question 26 is broad enough so that if you saw anyone with an MD about any mental health issue, you will likely be denied unless someone writes you a letter. Again, there is no time frame here. It doesn’t matter how long ago this was. It doesn’t matter how brief it was that you saw this doctor. It doesn’t matter that the situation has been resolved. It also doesn’t matter that you were never prescribed any drugs.
Finally, why would you think that your juvenile record was sealed or otherwise hidden in some fashion automatically? Wouldn’t that make this question pointless if this were true?
If you don’t read any extra info into the application, you’ll be much better off.
New Jersey Gun Permit Denial for Falsification Reversed on Appeal
This was a tough one. I really didnt know which way it was going to go. My client had a juvenile record and some stuff when he was an adult. He got all of his adult convictions expunged and he though the juvenile record was expunged too. However, his attorney mistakenly thought that there was no point to do that because the juvenile records were sealed. So, when the client goes to apply for his gun permit, he checks off that he has no juvenile convictions. As a result, he gets denied.
Court’s can be tough on falsification appeal. It may be the most difficult issue to overcome since it often turns on the credibility of the applicant. Luckily, I prepared my client to testify and we brought out all of the positive stuff that he has been doing in his life over the last few years. The Court really kept me guessing because it waited a month to mail me the decision. Just got it an hour ago and I won hands down as the Court explained that my client was very credible.
I’m just not sure who is happier about this win, me or my client!
Here’s another one of my crazy cases. One of my favorite clients was going through a nasty custody battle with his ex. She realize that we were boxing her in and that our victory was near so she filed false felony charges and a bogus restraining order against my client. I won the restraining order hands down and I used that transcript to get all of the criminal charges dismissed. Then we had to get the guns back. Based upon all of the good work I did with the rest of the case, the State agreed to give my client his weapons back. However, my client lost his FID card so he had to get another one. No reason to hire me right since there can’t possibly be any denial at this point right? WRONG!
Yup, he was denied. Reason? Due to the restraining order! Court order returning the weapons be damned. The worst part about all of this for the tax payers of this town is that instead of the Prosecutor’s Office handling the appeal, this town has the township attorney handle the appeal. In other words, the tax payers have to pay more for all this crap. I just got the discovery and they even have a copy of the prior Court order but they don’t seem to care. Case is pending, update soon…
File this one under “you can’t make this stuff up”. Guy applies for a gun and the Detective sends him an email (which he forwarded to me) saying, please let me know when you can pick up your permit. In other words, your permit is approved. When he calls to pick up it up though, he runs into some kind of snag. He goes to hire me (on Monday) but before he signs the fee agreement, he talks to the Mayor of his town and everything is smoothed over. Calls were made, everything will be worked out by the end of the week. No need for me which is great. Job is done, right. Calls me today (Thursday) and he was denied! You guessed it, public health, safety and welfare. Now he either has to pay thousands to hire an attorney to appeal or pretty much give up on his second amendment rights.
Also, as far as I know, there is nothing in his background that would prevent him from obtaining a permit.
This was easily one of the toughest gun cases I’ve been involved with for quite some time. The client hired me in September. He was a police officer but was hurt on the job so he had to retire. Some Workers Comp Doctor said that he suffered from all sorts of very serious mental health issues. Of course, nothing in the client’s history or present state of mind backs up any of that. Fast forward a few years. He applied for a purchase permit in the same department that he retired from but he runs into a ton of problems. He then hires me and we take action. However, it was a little too late as they were dead set on denying him regardless of what I said. They even went as far as to say that he was still crazy because he was acting bizarre when he showed up to check into the status of his application. So much for that blue line huh?
Luckily, we had some great experts on our side. The only bad thing is that they don’t have an interest in helping other people in future cases. Today in court, the Judge granted the appeal and my client will pick up his permit. I guess in some departments, when you retire, you are no longer one of them, huh?
Client works for a company where she carries a gun. She’s had a carry permit for many years and has never had a problem getting her permit. For whatever reason, this one judge has been sitting on a stack of carry permits for months. If this client didn’t get her permit approved in a few days, she would be fired. With only a few weeks to spare, the client hired me and I promised her that I’d get it done for her. In about a week or so, I got it done.
I was in Morris County today for a gun permit appeal. This was one of those strange cases where the client should have never needed to call me. His ex-wife filed a TRO against him back in 2005 when they were going through a divorce. Around the same time, he got hit with a minor criminal charge that he was convicted of. However, after getting some therapy, he was able to get his guns back. No problem anymore right?
Earlier this year, he moved to a new town in a new county and when he went to change his address on his FID card, they found this issue from 2005 and they denied him. So, one Prosecutor’s Office said it was ok and now another one is going to say its not? Yeah, that was what they were trying to do. Luckily, I had a good idea as to how this was all going to play out so I advised the client to take some steps so that we can be on the offensive and I handed that information to the prosecutor today. He then showed it to the judge and as a result, we won. I made it look real easy since I didn’t have to say anything other than to put my appearance on the record. While I was waiting to go into the court, a new client hired me for his gun permit appeal. One case closes, another opens.
Its been a good week. I learned that 3 clients have had their permits approved either this week or last week. One of these cases was rather easy but the other two were not. One client had a bunch of problems with the police and he was very afraid that he would be denied. Another client had a gun permit application in Newark which is always difficult to deal with.
I would have had at least two or three more approved this week but there were a few snags that held up the process. Instead of these clients being denied, the police are working with me to cure the defects in the application process.