A group of states are encouraging the highest court in the land to take up the case of a New Jersey man who just wants to get a carry permit but can’t due to the Garden State’s “may issue” laws.
The case, that of Thomas Rogers and the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, seeks to take a host of New Jersey officials to task for their practice of rarely issuing permits to carry a firearm in public for self-defense. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, joined with attorneys general and governors from 22 other states, are now on his side.
“Your constitutional rights don’t end when you walk outside your front door,” said Brnovich in a statement. “We have a guaranteed bill of rights in this country, not a bill of needs. Similar laws attempting to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens have already been ruled unconstitutional across the country and New Jersey’s de facto ban should be overturned as well.”
The 26-page amicus brief filed by Brnovich argues that the vast majority of the country — some 42 states — use “shall-issue” permitting standards while New Jersey’s more restrictive practice subjectively restricts law-abiding citizens from carrying a gun outside their home, even if they meet the eligibility requirements to do so.
Rogers, according to court documents, meets all the guidelines under New Jersey state law to obtain a permit — but cannot show evidence of a direct or specific threat to his life. In other words, even though he was threatened and robbed at gunpoint in the past and currently manages an ATM business, a job that requires him to service machines in high-crime areas, police say he does not have a justifiable need to carry a gun.
Rogers applied in early 2017 for a permit with the chief of police for Wall Township and was denied for just such a reason, a decision that a state Superior Court upheld in 2018. An appeal to the federal court was subsequently rejected, queuing it up for its current petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the past, the nation’s high court has rejected “may issue” challenges from New Jersey gun owners in both 2014 and 2017, however, with the court adding two new associate justices seen as being more pro-Second Amendment, the Rogers case could have better odds.