Firearm Purchase Permits (Part 4)

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The Appellate Division continued in relevant part: The court’s reference to the community caretaking doctrine is misplaced. “The community-caretaking doctrine represents a narrow exception to the warrant requirement.” State v. Scriven (2016); State v. Diloreto (2004). There was no warrantless seizure of appellant’s firearms by police.

We reverse the forfeiture and compelled sale of appellant’s firearms and remand for entry of a corrected order. On remand, the court shall conduct further proceedings to determine whether the firearms may be returned from the federally licensed firearms dealer, or whether some other remedy is available. In those proceedings, appellant is free to pursue his claims for deprivation of his property rights under the Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

The related issue that the Court addressed was whether expunged records could be considered when determining whether to grant a handgun purchase permit or revoke a firearms purchaser identification card. The Appellate Division held the following in relevant part: We part company with the court in H.M.H. and adopt the reasoning of J.D. in concluding that expunged records may be considered when determining whether the issuance of a HPP or FPIC “would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare,” N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3(c)(5).
In J.D., the trial court found that the expungement remedy “appeared to be in direct conflict with N.J.S.A. 2C:58-1 to -19, our state statute relating to firearm ownership.” The court noted that N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3 then prohibited the issuance of a HPP or FPIC: “to any person who has ever been confined for a mental disorder . . . unless [that person] produces a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof, that he is no longer suffering from that particular disability in such a manner that would interfere with or handicap him in the handling of firearms. . . .”

As this case involves a fundamental Second Amendment Right, it will likely be appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court. From there it could also be appealed to the United States Supreme Court so long as the state Supreme Court decision is not decided strictly based on an interpretation of the New Jersey State Constitution.