Will you get denied?

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.  If you have any questions, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW for immediate assistance instead of posting your question below.

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.

6.  Your employer causes problems for you.  Click here to read more.

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.

If you have any questions, call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW for immediate assistance instead of posting your question below.

  1. Because you have to disclose same in Question 26. If you are asking if you can lie about it and hope that they don’t find out? That I can’t help you with. They have ways….

  2. What would be considered a “recent” DWI? I’ve heard that it’s not possible to get a gun permit within 5 years of a DWI in NJ. Is this true and how difficult is it to obtain a gun permit after a single DWI offense? Thanks for the help.

    • There is no real rule here so I can’t tell you how old it has to be. It is really up to the police. While it will take some work, I can probably get you a gun permit if you had a DWI a few weeks ago.

  3. Would they call you’re references even if they were going to deny you ?

    • There is no one way they have to deny you, but I think it makes sense for them to call. They need to come up with all reasons to deny you and not just rely on one.

  4. I was seen by a counselor when I was younger, does that constitute denial? And the practice is defunct now

    • As I have indicated on this blog, I have seen people get denied for seeing a therapist over 20 years prior to the application.

  5. They are the police. They can get a lot of things. Either way, you have to answer question 26. If you lie, that is a felony offense. So, most of the time, the person tells them.

    • “if you lie, that is a felony”

      Right, but the only evidence to proof it’s a felony are your medical records, which they can’t legally access.

      • Not true. I’ve had many cases where employers, schools, friends, neighbors, ex-girlfriends, and any other number of people have reported that the client has had mental health treatment.

  6. I have some questions. Do they consider anxiety disorder a mental disorder/illness? I’ve voluntarily taken myself to the hospital for anxiety. However, I have never ever been prescribed, nor have I taken any medications for this. I don’t know whether or not to check yes or no to question #26 on form sts-33. I have never been adjudicated, or confined to a mental institution. I would like to know would my local PD deny me over this. And to make matters even worse, I had a DV (non physical) in 2007 which was dismissed. To take it even further, my local PD is asking me to sign a form which gives them consent to ask my job for whatever documents they want to use to approve or deny me.

    How much is your consultation fee? I really want to be able to exercise my 2A rights. Looks like i’ve got an uphill battle but if your price is right, i’d maybe like to hire you.

    • As I indicated a number of times on this blog, I saw a guy in court who was denied because he saw someone when he was about 8 years old for ADHD. Nothing ever came out of it and it was 20 years later. Thus, if you saw any Dr for any mental illness, the police could use that to deny you. Will everyone get denied just because they saw someone? No. But it clearly does happen. You’d have to call me to discuss further.

      • But did this guy …

        (the one seen at age 8 for possible ADHD)

        Answer “Yes” to question #26? I know you mentioned this was not your client and so some of the finer details of the case may not be known to you. I am just wondering if the person answered yes, and the police just picked a VERY low hanging (albeit rotten) fruit.

      • I assume he did.

  7. I was just called in to speak with the officer in charge of the permit process in my town. He told me because I had two dismissed TRO’s that went to trial and I won, look forward to being denied on Friday. Do I have any grounds for an appeal?


    • This is very common and the reasons vary. I would say 1 out of 4 people that hire me are in this position.

  9. Hi, got denied for firearms license. I did not recall an incident that had happened 35 years previous in Maryland.
    I was arrested for assault & battery and then convicted.
    I never served any jail time. I answered the questions 18
    & 19 no. It asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime
    and I put no. I did not recall the incident until I recieved the
    denial for the license. Is their anyway that I can make corrections on the application, and then ask the state of
    maryland to pardon the charge, and if so granted could I apply for a permit again?

    • The big issue is whether or not this offense is going to disqualify you. Sounds like you think it will. Since I know nothing about law in there, you’ll have to call a Maryland attorney and see what your options are and the time frame for doing so. Only then can you decide what you should do with regard to this appeal.

  10. I have a question in regards to question 26. I was reading the law and as you know it says you can not be a drug dependent person as defined by N.J.S.A. 24:21-2. N.J.S.A. 24:21-2 which defines a drug dependent person as “a person who is using a controlled dangerous substance AND who is in a state of psychic or physical dependence, or both, arising from the use of that controlled dangerous substance on a CONTINUOUS basis.” First does the AND I highlighted in caps mean you have to be using and dependent or does it mean you just have to be using a controlled substance?
    Ok now second I am prescribed aderral for adhd. I dont take my medication everyday I don’t need to. I often go a couple months without a prescription refil. Each prescription is for 30 once a day pills. I was wondering if the dates of my prescription refills can be used as sufficient evidence to show that I am not dependent and that I do not use the aderral, controlled substance, on a continuios basis, as the law states the dependce must arise from?

    • There is a post from about a year ago where a guy (not my client) was denied because he was evaluated for ADHD over 20 years ago. In your case, you have it. Thus, you can get denied. Whether it falls under one part of the statute or another is not the issue. Of course, I’d be happy to help you if you want.

  11. So since my dad committed a crime before I was born and was released from jail before I was born I will be unable to own a gun? I’ve never had any run ins with the law other than a speeding ticket and I’ve never seen a doctor for mental health issues. If I were to get a gun safe with a combination lock to which only I knew the combination would that be acceptable?

    • I assume your dad lives with you and if so, you may get denied. Doesn’t matter how you store your gun.

  12. I applied and received my Firearms ID card last year, no problems. Last month , I applied for a pistol permit and was told by a friend that works in the PD that I might not be approved because I used to belong to a motorcycle club and that I had been seen at public events talking to outlaw club members ( which I was never). My only run ins with the law have been a DWI in 1994 and a fake id in 1992. The false ID charge didnt even show up in the computer when my friend who works there ran the info. Currently, my friend was told to call the prosecutors office to see if any pictures can be found of me associating with these members ( who may very well be law abiding citizens as well, that just choose to be in a outlaw club). This seems crazy to me. Im just a motorcycle enthusiast!!!

    • Of course it is crazy, but I tried to make it quite clear on this blog that anyone can be denied for any reason.

  13. A friend of mine just got his denial letter ten minutes ago from the soviet state of New Jersey because of mental health (unspoken, they said “public health and wellfare”, which is of course bullshit) but the oddity with his case is he was fully cleared by both his original psych professional and an additional one whom he had to visit because his psych wasn’t qualified to write him an excuse for his own treatment, apparently. Really fkkking bizarre.

    Is that justified? If you have literally nothing can NJ deny you a permit just because you dress wrong one day? I’d imagine so.

    On the denial, not the justification. His right to bear arms has now been infringed upon.

    • When it comes to PHW, that gives them the right to deny you for anything. Hopefully, we will get that struck down at some point. Have him call me anytime to discuss this in more detail if he wants to fight back and protect his rights.

  14. If you have a question, you can post it or call.

  15. If you are even charged with any criminal offense, you “could” get denied regardless of whether or not you were even convicted. Since you were, than, you certainly could. Will you? Depends on out the application is handled.

    • If you want to run anything by me, feel free to send it over. I’d be happy to help you out. Sounds really interesting.

  16. You also have to file a mental consent form so that gives them the right to pry

  17. Jef,

    I have a felony conviction from 1996 for a non violent crime not in the state of NJ. Obstruction of justice, 18 U.S.C. § 1505.
    Served 6 months home detention and some community service.
    I do have my NJ firearms purchaser ID card which I got prior to the events of 1996 and do own a shotgun. Two questions:

    1) Can I buy a rifle using my current ID card?
    2) What are my chances of getting a NJ hand gun permit?

    I know there is the question #20:
    (20) Have you ever been convicted of a crime in New Jersey or a criminal offense in another jurisdiction where you could have been sentenced to more than
    six months in jail that has not been expunged or sealed? If yes, list date(s), place(s) and crime(s).

    I’m anxious to hear your thoughts.

  18. i Just moved back to nj i lived in pennsylvannia for a few years and moved to florida i own firearms which i brought up i need to apply for a gun purchasers card now if they deny me what will happen to my hunting rifles all the rifles where bought legal do i tell them i have them also when i was a kid i was busted for having a fake idea in nyc paid a fine and was sent home would that deny me its been about 14yrs since i left jersey dont want to lose my rifles

    • Well if you get an attorney to help you, you may have a better chance of getting approved. If you get denied, you can then discuss the ramifications with your PD.

  19. I received my firearms id card in the end of Oct. 2010, I first applied for it in 4/2009. I was issued two permits at this time. I went to purchased a pistol last week and was denied by nics for an arrest which happened in 1975. this arrest was to be expunged after a probation period was serviced. why was I allowed to received the id in the first place. Is there a chance of getting this corrected or is it now too late for any rebuttal?

    • NJ’s standard and NICS’ standard don’t always mesh well. I would have to review your criminal history to see if I could help you.

  20. When I was 18, I voluntarily entered a Crisis Center at my local hospital for Alcohol abuse. I was there for 4 days and since then I have had no issues with the law in any form. Under section 26, am I required to answer “Yes” for that? It was 15+ years ago, I don’t even know what was put into my file. Is there a way I can find out?

  21. Hey Jef,

    I have a mental health background since I was young. How can you help?



  22. Alfredo Rodriguez

    I’m curious. Is it legal for townships to restrict the times for applying for Purchase Permits and FIDs if it causes a financial burden?

    I have had my FID for over 15 years and went to the township this morning to file a Permit to Purchase Handgun and they have a policy posted on the Records Department window that states that FIDs and Purchase Permits can only be done on Wednesdays from 9:30am to 3:30pm.

    This creates a unreasonable financial hardship for me because I work from 8am to 8pm on Wednesdays and now means I have to take off from work just to submit paperwork.

    I should note that I have a very clean record, served in the military for over 9 years and held and still hold a security clearance.

  23. Hello,

    I’m from another state so I don’t have to worry about a permit, but I was wondering if you knew what the general rule was with the feds denying because of DUI or drug possession. I have a couple DUIs and possession of marijuanas at the same time, all misdemeanor and last one was 3 years ago. Is there a general timeframe or am I just at the mercy of the feds?

  24. I don’t give legal advice on these issues. You’d have to call your local PD.

  25. JH:

    You provide the following reason for denial:”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.”

    I’ve seen psychologists for marriage counseling (over 11 years ago), and during graduate school for other reasons (more than 20 years ago). No drugs involved during either period.

    These items could potentially disqualify me for an FID and handgun permits?

  26. I recently got denied for a firearms ID card/handgun permit. They said it was due to a criminal record in PA. When I was 18, I was arrested, but was told if I did my community service and counseling that it would be expunged. I am 34 years old now, and have had no other issues with the law. That was 16 years ago, and I have been a model citizen since. Should I even do the appeal process? Will they just deny me again?

    In addition, when I applied, my wife did also. She has never had an issue with the law. But since she is my wife, and we live together, and I just got denied, will they deny her, too?

    I know I need help with this, but don’t have much money for lawyer fees. Please advise.

    • I attempted to contact you but your email address was wrong. You’d have to call me to discuss.

  27. I’m currently a 2nd time applicant for my NJ FID. I never got denied the first time, but my application was suspended due to a “shoplifting” category 1 in PA. The detective in my local PD told me specifically that i wasn’t denied, but i needed a written disposition from the town in PA. 5 years later the same note popped up in my file, but the detective simply asked me if i have my disposition. I said no and it happened more than 10 years ago so he literally ripped the post it stating “investigation pending”. He then proceeded saying everything looks OK and asked me to call in 2-3 weeks. Should i be worried or proactively seeking assistance at this point? Please advise.

    • Normally, I wouldn’t trust them, but that’s not me. I would look into getting that case expunged.

  28. You all come on this forum like this jef guy is your savior. it is because of people like him that NJ is the way it is!!! LAWYERS! Real lucrative business for you eh Jeff, this soviet state of NJ. Makes me sick!!

    • jefhenninger

      Why don’t you give out your real email address of better yet, stop into my office? Of course you won’t. If you read my blog, you would clearly see that this isn’t a profit maker for me. I don’t mind people with different opinions, but don’t hide behind a fake name and email address. Post your info so others can contact you and debate you.

  29. Thanks Jeff. Honestly, it is. It’s more or less on all four with In Re: Blasko whereby this trial judge has created a new licensing requirement of full cooperation with the licensing authority; even if they seek items not required by the statutory scheme. I’ll send over my Brief in Support of Appeal and the supplement thereto this evening and if you’re interested in speaking about my experiences to date I’d be be more than happy to chat.

  30. i got denied for my juvenile record? domestic violence.

  31. I recently had my record expunged. (I had a fist fight when i was 19, I am now 43) I want to apply for a gun permit to protect my family. After reading all the comments, I decided to have myself back round checked (By the same company that the expungement attorney sent me to) before submitting my application. I figure I would spear myself the frustration and embarrassment. I will keep you posted on the outcome.

  32. Great free advice Jeff. It’s lawyers like you who make being a 2A enthusiast easy. Even in the communist block state of NJ.

    24 years ago I applied for my FID and first permit to purchse.

    Saddly, the permit officer was anti gun and held my application for almost 1 year. Lucky for me he retired and another officer called me up and informed me that I failed to check one box on my app. Consequently, he asked me to come in and check the box and would have my permit and id card the next week.

    If you are having a hard time with your 2A rights in NJ this blog should be comforting to read. It lets you know you are not alone.


  33. Jennifer Tripp

    Yes, thank you again for your advice… We may be talking in the near future in reference to helping me get my permit (:

  34. This attorney is performing a real public service. An attorney’s “time is his stock and trade” atoorneys give advice to make their living. This gentleman deserves credit for his willingness to write this blog. Criticism of his willingness to help is absurd.

  35. Would I get denied if I was charged with shoplifting 15 years ago?

  36. What if you were a victim of DV? Will you still be denied?

  37. I was wondering does your firm handel along the same lines, applacations for fed FFL lic.

  38. If you plead guilty for unlawful possession and get probation. can you still get you permit back after probation is completed?

  39. I recently had my guns taken and my firearms ID card taken all without a warrant for an attempted suicide that didn’t involve a firearm. I had my license for 25 years without incident. I was told I could get it reinstated. I also have a letter of recommendation from an FBI agent supervisor . Would you be interested in my case? Located in Gloucester county. Thank you.

  40. I have a question for you, i am 21 i am sure i would get denied on the basis of being convictes of a cds charge for pot in 2012 and a underage consumption of alcohol and driving charge (the judge calles it a “baby dwi”). I blew a .04 and the possesion was less then 2 grams so im sure i would be denied but is there a chance an apeal could get me my permiti dont care about the pistol permit i just want fo be able to get my own gun for hunting and the range so i can go by myself and not with my father or friend all the time.

  41. As told when picking up paperwork for firearms id in manchester nj that the process takes about 5 months… what about the 30 day thing that is stated in the njsp website?

  42. Its best to appeal within the 30 days to avoid having any problems but if you waited, call me to discuss.

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