Jersey City veered outside of its authority when it devised gun permit applications that required “…substantially more…” information than state law allows, an appeals court has ruled.
The information sought by the city includes license plate numbers, prior employers and waivers authorizing the release of “any and all information” to police, information that is not required by state statute or by New Jersey State Police’s own application, the court ruled.
“We do not conclude in this decision that Jersey City’s inquiries were unreasonable or made in bad faith,…” reads the 21-page ruling, released today. “However, the Legislature or the Superintendent of the State Police must authorize any requirement or condition for issuance of a handgun permit that goes beyond the terms of the statute and the State Police.”
The ruling stems from a case involving Michael McGovern, who sought in 2012 to purchase two handguns. The city denied McGovern’s permit, citing three arrests in Florida and “other – Good Repute.” McGovern had declined to provide some information to the city, calling his refusal “…a matter of principle in pursuing his constitutional and statutory rights,…” according to the ruling.
McGovern said the three Florida arrests, for minor offenses between 2000 and 2002, did not result in any convictions.
The matter now moves back to Jersey City, which must reconsider McGovern’s gun permit application. Jersey City said it disagrees with the ruling and intends to appeal. “Jersey City has the most thorough gun permit application in the state and we think this is important to make sure guns don’t get into the wrong hands,” Mayor Steve Fulop said in a statement from his spokeswoman.
UPDATE: McGovern’s attorney responds to appeal threat: “bring it on”Jersey City has long been a bane of gun advocates. Its former mayor, Jerramiah Healy, was a vocal proponent of expanding gun control measures, a position advocated by Fulop, too. [via NJ.com]