Gun rights, even in New Jersey

Posted: December 2, 2014 by gamegetterII in gun rights
Tags: , ,

I blogged in April about In the Matter of the Application by Michael McGovern, which offers some interesting (though non-precedential) views on New Jersey gun law. As I noted then, New Jersey requires a license to buy a handgun, and allows sheriffs to deny such licenses if the person was not of “good character and good repute in the community” or “where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare.” There is, however, an appellate review process.

Michael McGovern was denied a license, for several reasons. First, the Jersey City Police Department requires applicants to fill out extra forms, beyond those required by state law; McGovern refused to fill them out, arguing that state law didn’t authorize them.

Second, the trial court reviewing the department’s denial took the view that such uncooperativeness showed a lack of “good repute within the community.”

Third, the police department discovered that McGovern had a few arrests in Florida 10 years earlier, for petty theft, resisting arrest, and failures to appear in court or pay a fine for possession of an alcoholic beverage while under 21; it did not find any conviction record, but demanded that McGovern give further details on the incidents, and provide court records from the Florida courts. “There are no final dispositions listed for these offenses. You will have to get certified dispositions from the Courts involved as to the outcome of these charges. This department also has a concern over your actions during the incidents.” McGovern refused to provide these items.

Fourth, the government argued that McGovern acted wrongly by “surreptitiously record[ing] a conversation” with the police detective who was dealing with the case (though the trial court did not expressly rely on this justification).

The appellate court ruled in McGovern’s favor, for reasons I’ll mention shortly. But for now, I wanted to blog this photograph, which Mr. McGovern was kind enough to send me:

“I’m off to the range to break in my HK45c,” writes Mr. McGovern, and asks me to thank his appellate counsel Louis Nappen of The Nappen Law Firm, as well as Louie (Luigi) DeCecco of Louie G’s Outdoors.

In any event, here’s what the Appellate Division held back in April, and what led to the final success in November:


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