NJ Supreme Court: Applicant Entitled to Law Division Hearing

On January 28, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided In re Application for Permit to Carry a Handgun of Calvin Carlstrom. In this case, the Court ruled that a handgun carry-permit applicant is entitled to a hearing if his or her application is approved by the police chief or superintendent, but the application is denied by the Law Division.

In New Jersey, to apply for a permit, the applicant must apply “to the chief police officer of the municipality in which the applicant resides, or to the superintendent.” N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4(c). If the application is approved, “the applicant shall forthwith present it to the Superior Court.” N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4(d).

In Calvin Calstrom’s case, his application was approved by the Roselle Park Police Chief. However, his application was denied by the judge in the Law Division without a hearing being conducted.

The Supreme Court noted that the Administrative Office of the Courts had recently issued a Directive stating: “if a court has any questions regarding the applicant or his or her permit to carry application, it must hold a hearing to address those questions. The court should not simply deny the application.” Administrative Directive #06-19: Criminal – Procedures for Processing Gun Permits (May 20, 2019).

Therefore, the Court remanded Calstrom’s case to the Law Division in order to conduct a hearing.

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