As the year winds down we have a new ruling from a New Jersey State Appeals Court, affirming New Jersey’s ridiculous laws barring lawful citizens from carrying firearms in public. In this case two former arson investigators, JONATHAN R. WHEELER and GEORGE A. DAUDELIN, challenged New Jersey’s concealed carry laws on several fronts. These included the “Justifiable Need” standard, the qualifications for permit issuance to retired law enforcement officers, and New Jersey’s application of LEOSA.
In a surprising turn, it seems that the Attorney General declined to defend the case at the appellate level. Regardless, the state’s laws were upheld. (As if we would expect anything else).
— BoldDeparture (@BoldDeparture) December 30, 2013
As you can see, the decision is filled with references to the landmark Supreme Court cases District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The Decision also reference several federal district court rulings pertaining specifically to challenges to state laws regarding the carrying of firearms, in particular Moore v. Madigan.
Based upon the broad reasoning of Heller and McDonald, we
think the Second Amendment right to carry a handgun for the
purpose of lawful self-defense exists or extends beyond the
home. Nevertheless, we have no reason to decide that question.
We are confident that New Jersey’s “justifiable need” standard 42 A-3704-11T4
would not impermissibly burden the right. We can reject this
challenge to the carry permit law on that ground.
As most of the decisions challenging state carry laws have, this decision also claims to scrutinize the law under “intermediate scrutiny”.
Intermediate scrutiny is appropriate here. The
“justifiable need” component of the carry permit law does not
target protected conduct. It is an effort to protect the public
and accommodate those who have an objective reason to anticipate
a need to use a gun in self-defense.
I will say, it is somewhat refreshing to at least have a New Jersey court admit that the “Justifiable Need” standard burdens a law-abiding, responsible and adequately trained person’s right to carry. Could we see this in Pantano too?
There is no question that New Jersey’s “justifiable need”
requirement burdens a law-abiding, responsible and adequately
trained person’s right to carry a handgun in the event a need to
use it in lawful defense arises.
In this case, there seems to be no effort to determine the basis for the law. That is, other than to assume that the legislature had one when the law was enacted.
It is reasonable to infer that the Legislature was acting on considerations and
evidence similar to that considered by New York’s Legislature
when it adopted a carry permit law in 1911.
This last excerpt I find particularly troubling. What need was established “in the home” that could possibly be distinguishable from the need any lawful citizen has outside the home?
To view this limitation based on an objective showing of
need as inconsistent with the Amendment would be to seriously
misunderstand Heller. Assuming no categorical disqualification
of the firearm or the person carrying it, the Amendment protects
the right to bear arms for self-defense. As the Heller Court
implicitly recognized in noting the “need” for lawful use of 70 A-3704-11T4
defensive force in the home, the right to use lawful defensive
force has always been tied to need.