Firearm Purchase Permits (Part 3)

by | Aug 6, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

Judge Geiger continued in relevant part: An appeal issue is moot if the appellant “is not entitled to any affirmative relief.” Reilly v. AAA Mid-Atl. Ins. Co. of N.J. (2008). See also Redd v. Bowman (2015) (“An issue is ‘moot when our decision sought in a matter, when rendered, can have no practical effect on the existing controversy.'” (quoting Deutsche Bank Nat’l Tr. Co. v. Mitchell, (App. Div. 2011)). The lack of a stay pending appeal is not dispositive. Nor is the absence of an application for emergent relief. The current location and status of the firearms is not disclosed by the record. On this record, we reject the State’s mootness argument.

Although the State argues that appellant’s history of misconduct satisfied the public health, safety, and welfare disqualifier, that disqualifier applies to the issuance of HPPs and FPICs, rather than the right to possess firearms at home. See N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6(e) (“Nothing in subsections b., c., and d. of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent a person keeping or carrying about the person’s place of business, residence, premises or other land owned or possessed by the person, any firearm . . . .”); Morillo v. Torres (2015) (“The exemption in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6(e) applies to possessing weapons inside one’s dwelling or place of business”); State v. Petties (1995) (“One may possess an unlicensed handgun at home.”); State v. Harmon, (1986) (“A homeowner who possesses a gun in his home . . . does not violate N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 because under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6(e), he is not carrying it.”). Put simply, defendant is not prohibited by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 from possessing and carrying a firearm within his residence, and perhaps on adjacent land he owns or possesses, without a HPP, FPIC, or carry permit. See Morillo, 222 N.J. at 122.

The “and perhaps” language used by the Court demonstrates how there are numerous open questions of law pertaining to firearms possession and carrying in New Jersey. Theses questions became more numerous and complicated with the significant law changes regarding permits-to-carry in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen case.