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.
Just got word that another one of my clients had his gun permit approved. From the time I got into the case, it took about 50 days. I’m not sure what was going on with this police department but they had a tough time getting his criminal history. We kept up on them and they did get it. After that, he was approved in about 3 weeks. The client thanked not only my staff but my great staff that helped him out along the way.
Happy to announce yet another gun permit approved this week. This client had some prior mental health issues so that could have caused a problem. However, we worked with the Toms River Police Department and his gun purchase permit was approved fairly quickly.
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.
Update March 12, 2011: My client did get his permit right away. However, check the comments. Seems like this was too good to be true.
I have a client that has a pending application with the Parsippany police department. The Chief called me personally in response to my letter and I can tell you that he has to be one of the best Police Chiefs I have ever dealt with. The fact that he would call me directly first of all is pretty amazing. More amazing than that though is that he indicated that they are aware of the 30 day statute and that they do everything they can to move these applications ASAP and not let them build up. So, if you live in Parsippany and you have nothing that will cause problems with your application, you probably don’t need my help to speed it up. Of course, if your results vary, please let me know right away.
The gun permit application in New Jersey does not mention dismissed charges. So, a lot of people think that their applications will go through without a problem. Well at least some of them (if not many) are wrong. A guy just called me up yesterday who got dismissed for a dismissed domestic violence charge. He couldn’t believe that he got denied. He was shocked to learn that the police can “look behind” the complaint and dismiss based upon the facts as alleged even though they were not proven.
An expungement would have really helped him out. However, depending on the facts of the case, I could have probably helped him get the permit without even getting an expungement. Now he is trying to decide if he wants to drop a few thousand on an appeal. Lesson here is don’t let the application fool you. You can get denied even if you can legally answer all the questions the right way.
I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the chance to update the blog. I’ve been able to get several more permits approved in the past few weeks. One was pretty tough as the cops were giving my client some problems. A detective called me and left a message. I left him a message and he never called me back. I was getting worried that they were stone walling me but after a few days, they advised me that the permit was approved. I was ready for a fight, but none was needed.
Here’s an (edited) email I just got:
I applied for a gun permit the last week of august of 2009. After no reply from the police department, I contacted them on four different occasions from October, until finally on December 11th, I was told it was on hold because of a DV claim against me from 1995. Those charges were dropped and the lawyer who represented me even sent the chief the outcome of the case. I still heard nothing so I stopped there on December 23rd and the chief would not even talk to me, and told the clerk to tell me not to call them, they would call me. This is ridiculous and I was wondering if there was anything I could legally do.
It is quite possible that, even without the DV issue, they would still stonewall you. This is the reason why I started this blog and the representation that I offer. I don’t put up with this garbage and as an attorney, the police usually take notice and respond to me. When they don’t, I know how to get their attention. Without resorting to hiring an attorney, I don’t see much you can do. If I had been in this case from the start, the permit would have probably been issued months ago.